Exogenous loading of extracellular vesicles, virus-like particles, and lentiviral vectors with supercharged proteins

Extracellular Vesicles

Cell membrane-based biovesicles (BVs) are important candidate drug delivery vehicles and comprise extracellular vesicles, virus-like particles, and lentiviral vectors. Here, we introduce a non-enzymatic assembly of purified BVs, supercharged proteins, and plasmid DNA called pDNA-scBVs. This multicomponent vehicle results from the interaction of negative sugar moieties on BVs and supercharged proteins that contain positively charged amino acids on their surface to enhance their affinity for pDNA. pDNA-scBVs were demonstrated to mediate floxed reporter activation in culture by delivering a Cre transgene. We introduced pDNA-scBVs containing both a CRE-encoding plasmid and a BV-packaged floxed reporter into the brains of Ai9 mice. Successful delivery of both payloads by pDNA-scBVs was confirmed with reporter signal in the striatal brain region. Overall, we developed a more efficient method to load isolated BVs with cargo that functionally modified recipient cells. Augmenting the natural properties of BVs opens avenues for adoptive extracellular interventions using therapeutic loaded cargo.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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