• Co-Delivery of mRNA and pDNA Using Thermally Stabilized Coacervate-Based Core-Shell Nanosystems.

      Nasr, Sarah S; Lee, Sangeun; Thiyagarajan, Durairaj; Boese, Annette; Loretz, Brigitta; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-11-13)
      Co-delivery of different species of protein-encoding polynucleotides, e.g., messenger RNA (mRNA) and plasmid DNA (pDNA), using the same nanocarrier is an interesting topic that remains scarcely researched in the field of nucleic acid delivery. The current study hence aims to explore the possibility of the simultaneous delivery of mRNA (mCherry) and pDNA (pAmCyan) using a single nanocarrier. The latter is based on gelatin type A, a biocompatible, and biodegradable biopolymer of broad pharmaceutical application. A core-shell nanostructure is designed with a thermally stabilized gelatin-pDNA coacervate in its center. Thermal stabilization enhances the core's colloidal stability and pDNA shielding effect against nucleases as confirmed by nanoparticle tracking analysis and gel electrophoresis, respectively. The stabilized, pDNA-loaded core is coated with the cationic peptide protamine sulfate to enable additional surface-loading with mRNA. The dual-loaded core-shell system transfects murine dendritic cell line DC2.4 with both fluorescent reporter mRNA and pDNA simultaneously, showing a transfection efficiency of 61.4 ± 21.6% for mRNA and 37.6 ± 19.45% for pDNA, 48 h post-treatment, whereas established commercial, experimental, and clinical transfection reagents fail. Hence, the unique co-transfectional capacity and the negligible cytotoxicity of the reported system may hold prospects for vaccination among other downstream applications.