Dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate copolymer-siRNA nanoparticles for silencing a therapeutically relevant gene in macrophages
Therapeutic gene silencing using small-interfering RNA (siRNA) for treatment of bacterial infections has been neglected in comparison with cancer and viral infections. The aim of our investigation was to formulate siRNA-loaded nanoparticles, using an established cationic polymethacrylate polymer, to enhance the delivery of siRNA into the cytoplasm of macrophages that host many pathogenic bacterial species, including tuberculosis. Nanoparticles of cationic dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate copolymer (Eudragit® E 100) were successfully formulated and were found to efficiently bind the siRNA molecules (Cy3-siRNA, Bfl1/A1 siRNA). The efficiency of nanoparticles in overcoming cellular barriers to intracellular siRNA delivery and the precise pathway of endocytosis of nanoparticles were both confirmed using confocal microscopy. Through efficient siRNA release into the cytoplasm, the siRNA-loaded nanoparticles enabled a five-fold enhancement in the knockdown efficiency of the endogenous host gene Bfl1/A1, when the formulation was compared with free siRNA. Persistence of Bfl1/A1 is useful for phagolysosomal survival of tuberculosis bacteria in macrophages, and the nanoparticles offer a promising concept for exploitation as an anti-tuberculosis therapy.