The CPP is cationic (positively-charged), and can bind with the anionic (negatively-charged) gene drugs, forming a nano-structured complex. Moreover, CPP-based delivery has been called a “Trojan Horse” technique, because the CPP is able to carry various drugs through biobarriers such as cell membranes.
This system efficiently delivers a DNA that encodes a signalling protein termed TRAIL to the tumour; TRAIL can activate apoptosis – cell death – and kill the cancerous cells, while sparing the normal cells.
The mannosylated PEI–CPP not only improved the efficiency of gene delivery, but also enhanced the effectiveness of treatment and reduced side-toxicities.
From the art desk
Yongzhuo: When we drew a schematic illustration of the DNA chain, its double-stranded pattern reminded us of beautiful bird tail feathers. It seemed natural for us to compare the peptide chains to the stretching wings. We also drew the sugar mannose’s structure, which looked like a crown. We shaped an idea around these elements, and came up with a preliminary sketch. We decided to design a unique mascot, called Fenghuang, for this DNA delivery system. Fenghuang is the Chinese mythological bird that traditionally symbolizes peace, prosperity or happiness.
We then came to Dr. Kai Li, a previous colleague at SIMM, who kindly helped us and successfully finalised the beautiful artwork.
Read the article: Zhenzhen Pan et al, Polym. Chem., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/C7PY00882A
This image appears on the front cover of Polymer Chemistry, 2017, Issue 8.