The immunorecognition, subcellular compartmentalization, and physicochemical properties of nucleic acid nanoparticles can be controlled by composition modification

Morgan Brittany Johnson, Justin R Halman, Daniel K Miller, Joseph S Cooper, Emil F Khisamutdinov, Ian Marriott, Kirill A Afonin
2020 Nucleic Acids Research  
Nucleic acid nanoparticles (NANPs) have become powerful new platforms as therapeutic and diagnostic tools due to the innate biological ability of nucleic acids to identify target molecules or silence genes involved in disease pathways. However, the clinical application of NANPs has been limited by factors such as chemical instability, inefficient intracellular delivery, and the triggering of detrimental inflammatory responses following innate immune recognition of nucleic acids. Here, we have
more » ... ds. Here, we have studied the effects of altering the chemical composition of a circumscribed panel of NANPs that share the same connectivity, shape, size, charge and sequences. We show that replacing RNA strands with either DNA or chemical analogs increases the enzymatic and thermodynamic stability of NANPs. Furthermore, we have found that such composition changes affect delivery efficiency and determine subcellular localization, effects that could permit the targeted delivery of NANP-based therapeutics and diagnostics. Importantly, we have determined that altering NANP composition can dictate the degree and mechanisms by which cell immune responses are initiated. While RNA NANPs trigger both TLR7 and RIG-I mediated cytokine and interferon production, DNA NANPs stimulate minimal immune activation. Importantly, incorporation of 2′F modifications abrogates RNA NANP activation of TLR7 but permits RIG-I dependent immune responses. Furthermore, 2′F modifications of DNA NANPs significantly enhances RIG-I mediated production of both proinflammatory cytokines and interferons. Collectively this indicates that off-target effects may be reduced and/or desirable immune responses evoked based upon NANPs modifications. Together, our studies show that NANP composition provides a simple way of controlling the immunostimulatory potential, and physicochemical and delivery characteristics, of such platforms.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkaa908 pmid:33091133 fatcat:33cnj22qsng4fnpvd7hd7hzfta