Title

Cationic Glycopolyelectrolytes for RNA Interference in Tick Cells

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-18-2021

School

Polymer Science and Engineering

Abstract

The black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) is the primary vector for bacteria that cause Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), where numerous glycosylated tick proteins are involved at the interface of vector–host–pathogen interactions. Reducing the expression of key tick proteins, such as selenoprotein K (SelK), through RNA interference is a promising approach to reduce pathogen transmission, but efficient delivery of nucleic acids to arthropods has proven challenging. While cationic glycopolymers have been used as nonviral gene delivery vehicles in mammalian cells, their use in arthropod or insect gene transfection has not been established. In this study, statistical acrylamide-based cationic glycopolymers with glucose or galactose pendant groups were synthesized by reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer polymerization, and the effects of the saccharide pendant group and cationic monomer loading on polymer cytotoxicity, RNA complexation, and SelK gene knockdown in ISE6 cells were evaluated. All polymers exhibited low cytotoxicity, yet RNA/copolymer complex cell uptake and gene knockdown were highly dependent on the saccharide structure and the N:P (amino to phosphate groups) ratio.

Publication Title

Biomacromolecules

Volume

23

Issue

1

First Page

34

Last Page

46

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