A light-activated polymer with excellent serum tolerance for intracellular protein delivery

Chem Sci. 2023 Jan 21;14(8):2046-2053. doi: 10.1039/d2sc05848k. eCollection 2023 Feb 22.


The design of efficient materials for intracellular protein delivery has attracted great interest in recent years; however, most current materials for this purpose are limited by poor serum stability due to the early release of cargoes triggered by abundant serum proteins. Here, we propose a light-activated crosslinking (LAC) strategy to prepare efficient polymers with excellent serum tolerance for intracellular protein delivery. A cationic dendrimer engineered with photoactivatable O-nitrobenzene moieties co-assembles with cargo proteins via ionic interactions, followed by light activation to yield aldehyde groups on the dendrimer and the formation of imine bonds with cargo proteins. The light-activated complexes show high stability in buffer and serum solutions, but dis-assemble under low pH conditions. As a result, the polymer successfully delivers cargo proteins green fluorescent protein and β-galactosidase into cells with maintained bioactivity even in the presence of 50% serum. The LAC strategy proposed in this study provides a new insight to improve the serum stability of polymers for intracellular protein delivery.

PMID:36845943 | PMC:PMC9945510 | DOI:10.1039/d2sc05848k


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