A Systematic Study of Unsaturation in Lipid Nanoparticles Leads to Improved mRNA Transfection In Vivo

Sang M. Lee, Qiang Cheng, Xueliang Yu, Shuai Liu, Lindsay T. Johnson, Daniel J. Siegwart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) represent the leading concept for mRNA delivery. Unsaturated lipids play important roles in nature with potential for mRNA therapeutics, but are difficult to access through chemical synthesis. To systematically study the role of unsaturation, modular reactions were utilized to access a library of 91 amino lipids, enabled by the synthesis of unsaturated thiols. An ionizable lipid series (4A3) emerged from in vitro and in vivo screening, where the 4A3 core with a citronellol-based (Cit) periphery emerged as best. We studied the interaction between LNPs and a model endosomal membrane where 4A3-Cit demonstrated superior lipid fusion over saturated lipids, suggesting its unsaturated tail promotes endosomal escape. Furthermore, 4A3-Cit significantly improved mRNA delivery efficacy in vivo through Selective ORgan Targeting (SORT), resulting in 18-fold increased protein expression over parent LNPs. These findings provide insight into how lipid unsaturation promotes mRNA delivery and demonstrate how lipid mixing can enhance efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5848-5853
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Volume60
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2021

Keywords

  • lipid nanoparticles
  • mRNA
  • nanomaterials
  • unsaturated lipids
  • unsaturated thiols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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