Targeting REDV peptide functionalized polycationic gene carrier for enhancing the transfection and migration capability of human endothelial cells


Targeting gene engineering should be considered as an effective method for promoting endothelialization of vascular grafts. Herein, we developed a targeting REDV peptide functionalized polycationic gene carrier for carrying the pEGFP-ZNF580 plasmid with the aim of enhancing the transfection and migration capability of human endothelial cells. This polycationic gene carrier with the REDV peptide (mPEG-P(LA-co-CL)-PEI-REDV) was prepared by the conjugation of the Cys-Arg-Glu-Asp-Val-Trp (CREDVW) peptide with the amphiphilic block copolymer methoxy poly(ethylene glycol) ether-poly(L-lactide-co-ε-caprolactone)-poly(ethyleneimine) (mPEG-P(LA-co-CL)-PEI). mPEG-P(LA-co-CL)-PEI nanoparticles (NP) and mPEG-P(LA-co-CL)-PEI-REDV nanoparticles (REDV-NP) were formed by the self-assembly of the corresponding polycationic polymers, and then their pEGFP-ZNF580 complexes were prepared via the electrostatic interaction with pEGFP-ZNF580 plasmids, respectively. Gel electrophoresis results show that the targeted REDV-NPs could compress pEGFP-ZNF580 plasmids into stable complexes and protect the plasmids against desoxyribonuclease degradation. MTT assay indicates that these targeted REDV-NP/pEGFP-ZNF580 complexes exhibit better cyto-compatibility than the non-targeted NP/pEGFP-ZNF580 complexes and the control PEI 1800 Da/pEGFP-ZNF580 complexes. In vitro transfection experiments and western blot analysis of EA.hy926 endothelial cells show that the pEGFP-ZNF580 plasmid expression and the relative protein level transfected by targeted REDV-NP/pEGFP-ZNF580 complexes are roughly consistent with that transfected by PEI 25 kDa/pEGFP-ZNF580 complexes. More importantly, the scratch wound assay results demonstrate that the migration capability of EA.hy926 cells has been improved significantly by the expression of the pEGFP-ZNF580 plasmid. Our results indicate that the polycationic polymer with functional REDV peptides can be a potential candidate as a pEGFP-ZNF580 plasmid delivery carrier and may be used in the endothelialization of vascular grafts.
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