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    Targeted extrahepatic delivery of siRNA remains a challenging task in the field of nucleic acid therapeutics. An ideal delivery tool must internalize siRNA exclusively into the cells of interest without affecting the silencing activity of siRNA. Here, we report the use of anti-EGFR Nanobodies (trademark of Ablynx N.V.) as tools for targeted siRNA delivery. A straightforward procedure for site-specific conjugation of siRNA to an engineered C-terminal cysteine residue on the Nanobody (trademark of Ablynx N.V.) is described. We show that siRNA-conjugated Nanobodies (Nb-siRNA) retain their binding to EGFR and enter EGFR-positive cells via receptor-mediated endocytosis. The activity of Nb-siRNAs was assessed by measuring the knockdown of a housekeeping gene (AHSA1) in EGFR-positive and EGFR-negative cells. We demonstrate that Nb-siRNAs are active in vitro and induce mRNA cleavage in the targeted cell line. In addition, we discuss the silencing activity of siRNA conjugated to fused Nbs with various combinations of EGFR-binding building blocks. Finally, we compare the performance of Nb-siRNA joined by four different linkers and discuss the advantages and limitations of using cleavable and noncleavable linkers in the context of Nanobody-mediated siRNA delivery.


    Oleksandr Zavoiura, Bodo Brunner, Peter Casteels, Luciana Zimmermann, Matthias Ozog, Carlo Boutton, Mike W Helms, Timothy Wagenaar, Volker Adam, Josefine Peterka, Christiane Metz-Weidmann, Pieter Deschaght, Sabine Scheidler, Kerstin Jahn-Hofmann. Nanobody-siRNA Conjugates for Targeted Delivery of siRNA to Cancer Cells. Molecular pharmaceutics. 2021 Mar 01;18(3):1048-1060

    PMID: 33444501

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