Bioconjug Chem 2012 Mar 28;23(3):574-85. Epub 2012 Feb 28.
Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M University, P.O. Box 30012, College Station, Texas 77842-3012, USA.
In this work, multifunctional biosynthetic hybrid nanostructures were prepared and studied for their potential utility in the recognition and inhibition of mRNA sequences for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), which are overexpressed at sites of inflammation, such as in cases of acute lung injury. Shell cross-linked knedel-like polymer nanoparticles (SCKs) that present peptide nucleic acids, for binding to complementary mRNAs, and cell penetrating peptides (CPPs), to gain cell entry, along with fluorescent labels and sites for radiolabeling, were prepared by a series of robust, efficient, and versatile synthetic steps that proceeded from monomers to polymers to functional nanoparticles. Amphiphilic block graft copolymers having combinations of methoxy- and thioacetyl-terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and DOTA-lysine units grafted from the backbone of poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) and extending with a backbone segment of poly(octadecyl acrylate-co-decyl acrylate) (P(ODA-co-DA)) were prepared by a combination of reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization and chemical modification reactions, which were then used as the building blocks for the formation of well-defined SCKs decorated with reactive thiols accessible to the surface. Fluorescent labeling with Alexa Fluor 633 hydrazide was then accomplished by amidation with residual acrylic acid residues within the SCK shells. Finally, the PNAs and CPP units were covalently conjugated to the SCKs via Michael addition of thiols on the SCKs to maleimide units on the termini of PNAs and CPPs. Confirmation of the ability of the PNAs to bind selectively to the target iNOS mRNAs when tethered to the SCK nanoparticles was determined by in vitro competition experiments. When attached to the SCKs having a hydrodynamic diameter of 60 ± 16 nm, the K(d) values of the PNAs were ca. an order of magnitude greater than the free PNAs, while the mismatched PNA showed no significant binding.