Effect of Protein Corona on The Transfection Efficiency of Lipid-Coated Graphene Oxide-Based Cell Transfection Reagents


Authors: E. Quagliarini, R. Di Santo, S. Palchetti, G. Ferri, F. Cardarelli, D. Pozzi and G. Caracciolo

Journal: Pharmaceutics

DOI: 10.3390/pharmaceutics12020113

Publication - Abstract

January 30, 2020

Abstract

Coating graphene oxide nanoflakes with cationic lipids leads to highly homogeneous nanoparticles (GOCL NPs) with optimised physicochemical properties for gene delivery applications. In view of in vivo applications, here we use dynamic light scattering, micro-electrophoresis and one-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis to explore the bionano interactions between GOCL/DNA complexes (hereafter referred to as ”grapholipoplexes”) and human plasma. When exposed to increasing protein concentrations, grapholipoplexes get covered by a protein corona that evolves with protein concentration, leading to biocoronated complexes with modified physicochemical properties. Here, we show that the formation of a protein corona dramatically changes the interactions of grapholipoplexes with four cancer cell lines: two breast cancer cell lines (MDA-MB and MCF-7 cells), a malignant glioma cell line (U-87 MG) and an epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line (CACO-2). Luciferase assay clearly indicates a monotonous reduction of the transfection efficiency of biocoronated grapholipoplexes as a function of protein concentration. Finally, we report evidence that a protein corona formed at high protein concentrations (as those present in in vivo studies) promotes a higher capture of biocoronated grapholipoplexes within degradative intracellular compartments (e.g., lysosomes), with respect to their pristine counterparts. On the other hand, coronas formed at low protein concentrations (human plasma = 2.5%) lead to high transfection efficiency with no appreciable cytotoxicity. We conclude with a critical assessment of relevant perspectives for the development of novel biocoronated gene delivery systems.

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