Novel PAMAM-PEG-Peptide Conjugates for siRNA Delivery Targeted to the Transferrin and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors
The transferrin (TfR) and epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) are known to be overexpressed on the surface of a wide variety of tumor cells. Therefore, the peptides B6 (TfR specific) and GE11 (targeted to the EGFR) were linked to the PAMAM (polyamidoamine) structure via a polyethylenglycol (PEG) 2 kDa chain with the aim of improving the silencing capacity of the PAMAM-based dendriplexes. The complexes showed an excellent binding capacity to the siRNA with a maximal condensation at nitrogen/phosphate (N/P) 2. The nanoparticles formed exhibited hydrodynamic diameters below 200 nm. The zeta potential was always positive, despite the complexes containing the PEG chain in the structure showing a drop of the values due to the shielding effect. The gene silencing capacity was assayed in HeLa and LS174T cells stably transfected with the eGFPLuc cassette. The dendriplexes containing a specific anti luciferase siRNA, assayed at different N/P ratios, were able to mediate a mean decrease of the luciferase expression values of 14% for HeLa and 20% in LS174T cells, compared to an unspecific siRNA-control. (p < 0.05). In all the conditions assayed, dendriplexes resulted to be non-toxic and viability was always above 75%.