Efficient protection and transfection of small interfering RNA by cationic shell-crosslinked knedel-like nanoparticles. Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the great potential of small interfering RNA (siRNA) as a therapeutic agent, progress in this area has been hampered by a lack of efficient biocompatible transfection agents. Recently, cationic shell-crosslinked knedel-like nanoparticles (cSCKs) were found to possess lower cytotoxicity and better transfection ability for phosphorothioate ODNs and plasmid DNA than the commonly used cationic lipid-based agent Lipofectamine. To determine the usefulness of cSCKs for siRNA transfection, a small library of cSCKs with varying percentage of primary and tertiary amines was assessed for its ability to bind to siRNA, inhibit siRNA degradation in human serum, and to transfect HeLa and mouse macrophage cell lines. The silencing efficiency in HeLa cells was greatest with the cSCK with 100% primary amines (pa100) as determined by their viability following transfection with cytotoxic and non-cytotoxic siRNAs. cSCK-pa100 showed greater silencing efficiency than Lipofectamine 2000 in the HeLa cells, as well in 293T and human bronchial epithelial (HEK) cells, but was comparable in human bronchial epithelial (BEAS-2B) cells and human mammary epithelial (MCF10a) cells. cSCK-pa100 also showed greater silencing of iNOS expression than Lipofectamine 2000 in a mouse macrophage cell line, and provided greater protection from serum degradation, demonstrating its potential usefulness as an siRNA transfection agent. The siRNA silencing of iNOS at lower concentrations of siRNA could be enhanced by complexation with the fusogenic GALA peptide, which was shown to enhance endosomal escape following uptake.

published proceedings

  • Nucleic Acid Ther

altmetric score

  • 24.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Shen, Y., Fang, H., Zhang, K. e., Shrestha, R., Wooley, K. L., & Taylor, J.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Shen, Yuefei||Fang, Huafeng||Zhang, Ke||Shrestha, Ritu||Wooley, Karen L||Taylor, John-Stephen A

publication date

  • April 2013