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A number of amphiphilic difatty acyl linear and cyclic R5K2 peptide conjugates were synthesized by solid-phase peptide methods to enhance the interaction with the hydrophobic cellular phospholipid bilayer and to improve siRNA delivery and silencing. Binding to siRNA molecules was significantly less for the cyclic peptide conjugates. A gradual decrease was observed in the particle size of the complexes with increasing peptide/siRNA ratio for most of the synthesized peptides, suggesting the complex formation. Most of the complexes showed a particle size of less than 200 nm, which is considered an appropriate size for in vitro siRNA delivery. A number of fatty acyl-conjugated peptides, such as LP-C16 and LP-C18, displayed near complete protection against serum degradation. Flow cytometry studies demonstrated significantly higher internalization of fluorescence-labeled siRNA (FAM-siRNA) in the presence of LP-C16, LP-C18, and CP-C16 with 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) addition. Confocal microscopy confirmed the cellular internalization of fluorescence-labeled siRNA in the presence of LP-C16 and LP-C18 with DOPE when compared with cells exposed to DOPE/FAM-siRNA. While C16- and C18-conjugated peptides (especially linear peptides) showed silencing against kinesin spindle protein (KSP) and janus kinase 2 (JAK2) proteins, the addition of DOPE enhanced the silencing efficiency significantly for all selected peptides, except for CP-C16. In conclusion, C16 and C18 difatty acyl peptide conjugates were found to enhance siRNA delivery and generate silencing of targeted proteins in the presence of DOPE. This study provides insights for the design and potential application of optimized difatty acyl peptide/ lipid nanoparticles for effective siRNA delivery.


This article was originally published in ACS Omega, volume 2, issue 10, in 2017. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b00741


American Chemical Society



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