Functionalized linear poly(amidoamine)s are efficient vectors for intracellular protein delivery

G.M.J.P.C. Coué, Johannes F.J. Engbersen

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An effective intracellular protein delivery system was developed based on functionalized linear poly(amidoamine)s (PAAs) that form self-assembled cationic nanocomplexes with oppositely charged proteins. Three differently functionalized PAAs were synthesized, two of these having repetitive disulfide bonds in the main chain, by Michael-type polyaddition of 4-amino-1-butanol (ABOL) to cystamine bisacrylamide (CBA), histamine (HIS) to CBA, and ABOL to bis(acryloyl)piperazine (BAP). These water-soluble PAAs efficiently condense β-galactosidase by self-assembly into nanoscaled and positively-charged complexes. Stable under neutral extracellular conditions, the disulfide-containing nanocomplexes rapidly destabilized in a reductive intracellular environment. Cell-internalization and cytotoxicity experiments showed that the PAA-based nanocomplexes were essentially non-toxic. β-Galactosidase was successfully internalized into cells, with up to 94% of the cells showing β-galactosidase activity, whereas the enzyme alone was not taken up by the cells. The results indicate that these poly(amidoamine)s have excellent properties as highly potent and non-toxic intracellular protein carriers, which should create opportunities for novel applications in protein delivery
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
JournalJournal of controlled release
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • IR-84517
  • METIS-283595

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