Liposomes are an effective gene and/or drug delivery system, widely used in biomedical applications including gene therapy and chemotherapy. Here, we designed a photo-responsive liposome (lipVP) loaded with a photosensitizer verteporfin (VP). This photosensitizer is clinically approved for photodynamic therapy (PDT). LipVP was employed as a DNA carrier for pituitary adenylyl cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) receptor 1 (PAC1R) gene knockdown in PC12 cells. This has been done by incorporating PAC1R antisense oligonucleotides inside the lipVP cavity. Cells that have taken up the lipVP were exposed to light from a UV light source. As a result of this exposure, reactive oxygen species (ROS) were generated from VP, destabilizing the endolysosomal membranes and enhancing the liposomal release of antisense DNA into the cytoplasm. Endolysosomal escape of DNA was documented at different time points based on quantitative analysis of colocalization between fluorescently labeled DNA and endosomes and lysosomes. The released antisense oligonucleotides were found to silence PAC1R mRNA. The efficiency of this photo-induced gene silencing was demonstrated by a 74% ± 5% decrease in PAC1R fluorescence intensity. Following the light-induced DNA transfer into cells, cell differentiation with exposure to two kinds of PACAP peptides was observed to determine the cell phenotypic change after PAC1R gene knockdown.
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- endosomal escape
- gene delivery