mRNA has recently emerged as a potent therapeutics and requires safe and effective delivery carriers, particularly prone to address its issues of poor stability and escape from endosomes. In this context, we designed poly(D,L-lactide) (PLA)-based micelles with N-succinimidyl (NS) ester decorated hydrophilic hairy corona to trap/couple a cationic fusogenic peptide and further complex mRNA.
Two strategies were investigated, namely (i) sequential immobilization of peptide and mRNA onto the micelles (layer-by-layer, LbL) or (ii) direct immobilization of peptide-mRNA pre-complex (PC) on the micelles. After characterization by means of size, surface charge, peptide/mRNA coupling/complexation and mRNA serum stability, carrier cytotoxicity and transfection capacity were evaluated with dendritic cells (DCs) using both GFP and luciferase mRNAs.
Whatever the approach used, the micellar assemblies afforded full protection of mRNA in serum while the peptide-mRNA complex yielded complete mRNA degradation. In addition, the micellar assemblies allowed to significantly reduce the toxicity observed with the peptide-mRNA complex. They successfully transfected hard-to transfect DCs, with a superior efficiency for the LbL made ones (whatever mRNAs studied) showing the impact of the elaboration process on the carrier properties.
These results show the relevance and potential of this new PLA/peptide based micelle platform to improve mRNA stability and delivery, while offering the possibility of further multifunctionality through PLA core encapsulation.
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Acknowledgments and Disclosures
We would like to thank J. Y Exposito and P. Libeau for useful discussions on mRNA aspects of delivery. We are grateful to AMU and CNRS for financial support. Financial support is also gained from ANRS in the framework of HIVERA JTC 2014 (HIV NANOVA), and Euronanomed II (Flunanoair) and from ANR-16-CE20-0002-01 (FishRNAVax) to BV.
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Lacroix, C., Humanes, A., Coiffier, C. et al. Polylactide-Based Reactive Micelles as a Robust Platform for mRNA Delivery. Pharm Res 37, 30 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11095-019-2749-6
- cationic fusogenic peptide
- mRNA delivery