Bennevault-Celton, V. ; Urbach, A. ; Martin, O. ; Pichon C. ; Guégan, P. and Midoux, P.
Bioconjugate Chemistry 22 (12) 2404-2414
α-Cyclodextrin was transformed in a cationic unit after per substitution with histidine (His-α-CD) and lysine (Lys-α-CD) molecules on the primary face. His-α-CD and Lys-α-CD were used to form electrostatic complexes (CDplexes) with a plasmid DNA encoding luciferase gene, and the ability of CDplexes to transfect mammalian cells was examined using HEK293-T7 cells. The luciferase activity in cells transfected with His-α-CDplexes was 8-fold higher than that obtained Lys-α-CDplexes. When the transfection was carried out in the presence of chloroquine, the luciferase activity with His-α-CDplexes and Lys-α-CDplexes increased 6 and 25 times, respectively. The lower enhancement with His-α-CDplexes confirmed that histidine induced a proton sponge effect inside endosomes upon imidazole protonation, favoring DNA delivery in the cytosol. At the same time, we found that the condensation of DNA with His-α-CD was unexpectedly stronger than that obtained with the lysyl-α-CD counterpart. Moreover, it was as strong as that observed with high molecular weight polylysine. NMR (ROESY and DOSY) investigations in the absence of DNA showed that an inclusion complex is formed between the imidazole ring of histidine and the hydrophobic cavity of CD but no His-α-CD polymers can be formed by intermolecular interactions. These results suggest that intermolecular interactions between imidazole and His-α-CD cavity could be involved to form supramolecular assemblies in the presence of a DNA scaffold leading to DNA condensation into low diameter particles.