A nanogel based oral gene delivery system targeting SUMOylation machinery to combat gut inflammation†
Poor success rates and challenges associated with the current therapeutic strategies of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have accelerated the emergence of gene therapy as an alternative treatment option with great promise. However, oral delivery of nucleic acids (NAs) to an inflamed colon is challenged by multiple barriers presented by the gastrointestinal, extracellular and intracellular compartments. Therefore, we screened a series of polyaspartic acid-derived amphiphilic cationic polymers with varied hydrophobicity for their ability to deliver NAs into mammalian cells. Using the most effective TAC6 polymer, we then engineered biocompatible and stable nanogels composed of polyplexes (TAC6, NA) and an anionic polymer, sodium polyaspartate, that were able to deliver the NAs across mammalian cells using caveolae-mediated cellular uptake. We then utilized these nanogels for oral delivery of PIAS1 (protein inhibitor of activated STAT1), a SUMO 3 ligase, encoding plasmid DNA since PIAS1 is a key nodal therapeutic target for IBD due to its ability to control NF-κB-mediated inflammatory signaling. We show that plasmid delivery using TAC6-derived nanogels diminished gut inflammation in a murine colitis model. Therefore, our study presents engineering of orally deliverable nanogels that can target SUMOylation machinery to combat gut inflammation with very high efficacy.