Nuclear-targeted siRNA delivery for long-term gene silencing
Developing effective nonviral siRNA delivery systems for long-term gene silencing remains a great challenge. Here we present a nuclear-targeted siRNA delivery system that can induce long-term gene silencing in cancer cells. The nanocarrier consists of gold nanoparticles modified with a dense shell of synthetic siRNAs and nuclear localization signal (NLS) peptides. The NLS peptide could translocate the nanocarrier into the nucleus and the siRNA was designed to target the promoter of thymidine kinase 1 and trigger the RNA-directed DNA methylation, thereby enabling the nuclear-targeted gene silencing. Compared with traditional gene silencing in cytoplasm, long-lasting gene knockdown could be achieved for the nuclear-targeted nanocarrier, which lasts for more than 30 days. The long-term gene silencing induced by nuclear-targeted siRNA delivery could effectively inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and prevent the formation of a tumor in a mouse model.