Development of elastin-like polypeptide for targeted specific gene delivery in vivo

Aena Yi, Dahye Sim, Young Jin Lee, Vijaya Sarangthem, Rang Woon Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: The successful deliveries of siRNA depend on their stabilities under physiological conditions because greater in vivo stability enhances cellular uptake and enables endosomal escape. Viral-based systems appears as most efficient approaches for gene delivery but often compromised in terms of biocompatibility, patient safety and high cost scale up process. Here we describe a novel platform of gene delivery by elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) based targeting biopolymers. Results: For better tumor targeting and membrane penetrating characteristics, we designed various chimeric ELP-based carriers containing a cell penetrating peptide (Tat), single or multiple copies of AP1 an IL-4 receptor targeting peptide along with coding sequence of ELP and referred as Tat-A1E28 or Tat-A4V48. These targeted polypeptides were further analyzed for its ability to deliver siRNA (Luciferase gene) in tumor cells in comparison with non-targeted controls (Tat-E28 or E28). The positively charged amino acids of these polypeptides enabled them to readily complex with negatively charged nucleic acids. The complexation of nucleic acid with respective polypeptides facilitated its transfection efficiency as well as stability. The targeted polypeptides (Tat-A1E28 or Tat-A4V48) selectively delivered siRNA into tumor cells in a receptor-specific fashion, achieved endosomal and lysosomal escape, and released gene into cytosol. The target specific delivery of siRNA by Tat-A1E28 or Tat-A4V48 was further validated in murine breast carcinoma 4T1 allograft mice model. Conclusion: The designed delivery systems efficiently delivered siRNA to the target site of action thereby inducing significant gene silencing activity. The study shows Tat and AP1 functionalized ELPs constitute a novel gene delivery system with potential therapeutic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalJournal of Nanobiotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 Jan 2020


  • AP1-ELPs
  • Cell penetrating peptide
  • ELP
  • Gene delivery
  • IL-4 receptor
  • Tumor targeting


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