Molecular weight-dependent activity of aminated poly(α)glutamates as siRNA nanocarriers

Adva Krivitsky, Vadim Krivitsky, Dina Polyak, Anna Scomparin, Shay Eliyahu, Hadas Gibori, Eilam Yeini, Evgeni Pisarevsky, Rachel Blau, Ronit Satchi-Fainaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


RNA interference (RNAi) can contribute immensely to the area of personalized medicine by its ability to target any gene of interest. Nevertheless, its clinical use is limited by lack of efficient delivery systems. Polymer therapeutics can address many of the challenges encountered by the systemic delivery of RNAi, but suffer from inherent drawbacks such as polydispersity and batch to batch heterogeneity. These characteristics may have far-reaching consequences when dealing with therapeutic applications, as both the activity and the toxicity may be dependent on the length of the polymer chain. To investigate the consequences of polymers' heterogeneity, we have synthesized two batches of aminated poly(α)glutamate polymers (PGAamine), differing in their degree of polymerization, but not in the monomer units or their conjugation. Isothermal titration calorimetry study was conducted to define the binding affinity of these polymers with siRNA. Molecular dynamics simulation revealed that Short PGAamine:siRNA polyplexes exposed a higher amount of amine moieties to the surroundings compared to Long PGAamine. This resulted in a higher zeta potential, leading to faster degradation and diminished gene silencing. Altogether, our study highlights the importance of an adequate physico-chemical characterization to elucidate the structure-function-activity relationship, for further development of tailor-designed RNAi delivery vehicles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number548
Issue number5
StatePublished - 20 May 2018


  • Anticancer therapy
  • Cationic polymer
  • Physico-chemical characterization
  • Poly(α)glutamate
  • Polyplexes
  • SiRNA delivery


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