Structure–activity correlation in transfection promoted by pyridinium cationic lipids†
The efficiency of the transfection of a plasmid DNA encoding a galactosidase promoted by a series of pyridinium lipids in mixtures with other cationic lipids and neutral lipids was assessed in CHO-K1 cells. We identify key molecular parameters of the lipids in the mixture – clog P, lipid length, partial molar volume – to predict the morphology of the lipid-DNA lipoplex and then correlate these same parameters with transfection efficiency in an in vitro assay. We define a Transfection Index that provides a linear correlation with normalized transfection efficiency over a series of 90 different lipoplex compositions. We also explore the influence of the same set of molecular parameters on the cytotoxicity of the formulations.