Engineering human megakaryocytic microparticles for targeted delivery of nucleic acids to hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells

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Science Advances  07 Nov 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 11, eaau6762
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau6762


Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are important target cells for gene therapy applications. Current genetic modifications of HSPCs rely on viral vectors in vivo or electroporation ex vivo. Here, we developed a nonviral system based on megakaryocytic microparticles (MPs) for targeted delivery of plasmid DNA (pDNA) and small RNAs to HSPCs. We have previously shown that megakaryocytic MPs, the most abundant MPs in blood circulation, target specifically and deliver cargo to HSPCs both in vitro and in vivo. With an optimized electroporation protocol, an average of 4200 plasmid copies per MP were loaded into MP, thus enabling effective delivery of green fluorescent protein (GFP)–encoding pDNA to HSPCs and HSPC nuclei, with up to 81% nuclei containing pDNA. Effective functional small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) delivery were also demonstrated. As patient-specific or generic megakaryocytic MPs can be readily generated and stored frozen, our data suggest that this system has great potential for therapeutic applications targeting HSPCs.

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