Published: March 1st, 2013
A protocol for nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) and high-throughput flow cytometry to evaluate polymeric gene delivery nanoparticles is described. NTA is utilized to characterize the nanoparticle particle size distribution and the plasmid per particle distribution. High-throughput flow cytometry enables quantitative transfection efficacy evaluation for a library of gene delivery biomaterials.
Non-viral gene delivery using polymeric nanoparticles has emerged as an attractive approach for gene therapy to treat genetic diseases1 and as a technology for regenerative medicine2. Unlike viruses, which have significant safety issues, polymeric nanoparticles can be designed to be non-toxic, non-immunogenic, non-mutagenic, easier to synthesize, chemically versatile, capable of carrying larger nucleic acid cargo and biodegradable and/or environmentally responsive. Cationic polymers self-assemble with negatively charged DNA via electrostatic interaction to form complexes on the order of 100 nm that are commonly termed polymeric nanoparticles. Examples of biomaterials used to form nanoscale polycationic gene delivery nanoparticles include polylysine, polyphosphoesters, poly(amidoamines)s and polyethylenimine (PEI), which is a non-degradable off-the-shelf cationic polymer commonly used for nucleic acid delivery1,3 . Poly(beta-amino ester)s (PBAEs) are a newer class of cationic polymers4 that are hydrolytically degradable5,6 and have been shown to be effective at gene delivery to hard-to-transfect cell types such as human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs)7, mouse mammary epithelial cells8, human brain cancer cells9 and macrovascular (human umbilical vein, HUVECs) endothelial cells10.
A new protocol to characterize polymeric nanoparticles utilizing nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) is described. In this approach, both the particle size distribution and the distribution of the number of plasmids per particle are obtained11. In addition, a high-throughput 96-well plate transfection assay for rapid screening of the transfection efficacy of polymeric nanoparticles is presented. In this protocol, poly(beta-amino ester)s (PBAEs) are used as model polymers and human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) are used as model human cells. This protocol can be easily adapted to evaluate any polymeric nanoparticle and any cell type of interest in a multi-well plate format.
The determination of the number of plasmids complexed per nanoparticle is important to design effective nanoparticle-based gene delivery strategies, particularly for co-delivery of multiple plasmids to the same cell target, as often is required in stem cell reprogramming studies12. Few approaches to calculate the number of plasmids associated with a single nanoparticle have been described, and each approach has drawbacks in the techniques used for estimation13-16. Quantum dot (QD) labeling combined with TEM has been used to estimate plasmids per particle in chitosan-based nanoparticles. Estimation with this QD technique is complicated due to the ....
1. Cell Seeding
Figure 1 shows a fluorescence microscopy image of an example of a successful transfection of HRECs with the EGFP plasmid. The brightfield image is helpful to ensure that cells maintain their usual morphology. Additionally, cell viability assays, such as MTS or similar assays, can be used to assess the nanoparticle toxicity7. Flow cytometry, as described, can be used to quantify the transfection efficiency. When using the HyperCyt multi-well plate attachment, the data will need to be processed .......
The protocols above describe methods of evaluating the transfection efficacy of nanoparticle formulations, as well as a way to characterize the particle size and DNA loading of the nanoparticles. The number of plasmids per particle is an important parameter that can help predict the effectiveness of the particle and can also be used for dose determination. Nanoparticle tracking analysis can be performed in a range of different aqueous solutions, such as those differing in salt concentration. Often this characteriz.......
|Phosphate Buffered Saline, 1x (PBS)
|Sodium acetate buffer
|Dilute to 25mM in deionized water
|CellTiter 96 AQueous One
|Clear flat bottom 96-well plate, sterile
|Clear round bottom 96-well plate, sterile
|5-50 and 50-300 μl
|Model number: AX10
|C6 Accuri flow cytometer
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