Self-Assembly of Amphiphilic Dendrimers: The Role of Generation and Alkyl Chain Length in siRNA Interaction
Camarada, María Belén
Valencia-Gallegos, Jesús A.
González-Nilo, Fernando Danilo
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An ideal nucleic-acid transfection system should combine the physical and chemical characteristics of cationic lipids and linear polymers to decrease cytotoxicity and uptake limitations. Previous research described new types of carriers termed amphiphilic dendrimers (ADs), which are based on polyamidoamine dendrimers (PAMAM). These ADs display the cell membrane affinity advantage of lipids and preserve the high affinity for DNA possessed by cationic dendrimers. These lipid/dendrimer hybrids consist of a low-generation, hydrophilic dendron (G2, G1, or G0) bonded to a hydrophobic tail. The G2-18C AD was reported to be an efficient siRNA vector with significant gene silencing. However, shorter tail ADs (G2-15C and G2-13C) and lower generation (G0 and G1) dendrimers failed as transfection carriers. To date, the self-assembly phenomenon of this class of amphiphilic dendrimers has not been molecularly explored using molecular simulation methods. To gain insight into these systems, the present study used coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to describe how ADs are able to self-assemble into an aggregate, and, specifically, how tail length and generation play a key role in this event. Finally, explanations are given for the better efficiency of G2/18-C as gene carrier in terms of binding of siRNA. This knowledge could be relevant for the design of novel, safer ADs with welloptimized affinity for siRNA.