Polymer-peptide delivery platforms: Effect of oligopeptide orientation on polymer-based DNA delivery

Sangram S. Parelkar, Rachel Letteri, Delphine Chan-Seng, Olga Zolochevska, Jayne Ellis, Marxa Figueiredo, Todd Emrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The success of nonviral transfection using polymers hinges on efficient nuclear uptake of nucleic acid cargo and overcoming intra- and extracellular barriers. By incorporating PKKKRKV heptapeptide pendent groups as nuclear localization signals (NLS) on a polymer backbone, we demonstrate protein expression levels higher than those obtained from JetPEI and Lipofectamine 2000, the latter being notorious for coupling high transfection efficiency with cytotoxicity. The orientation of the NLS peptide grafts markedly affected transfection performance. Polymers with the sequence attached to the backbone from the valine residue achieved a level of nuclear translocation higher than the levels of those having the NLS groups attached in the opposite orientation. The differences in nuclear localization and DNA complexation strength between the two orientations correlated with a striking difference in protein expression, both in cell culture and in vivo. Polyplexes formed from these comb polymer structures exhibited transfection efficiencies superior to those of Lipofectamine 2000 but with greatly reduced toxicity. Moreover, these novel polymers, when administered by intramuscular ultrasound-mediated delivery, allowed a high level of reporter gene expression in mice, demonstrating their therapeutic promise in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1328-1336
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 14 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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