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Intracellular protein delivery enables selective regulation of cellular metabolism, signaling, and development through introduction of defined protein quantities into the cell. Most applications require that the delivered protein has access to the cytosol, either for protein activity or as a gateway to other organelles such as the nucleus. The vast majority of delivery vehicles employ an endosomal pathway however, and efficient release of entrapped protein cargo from the endosome remains a challenge. Recent research has made significant advances toward efficient cytosolic delivery of proteins using polymers, but the influence of polymer architecture on protein delivery is yet to be investigated. Here, we developed a family of dendronized polymers that enable systematic alterations of charge density and structure. We demonstrate that while modulation of surface functionality has a significant effect on overall delivery efficiency, the endosomal release rate can be highly regulated by manipulating polymer architecture. Notably, we show that large, multivalent structures cause slower sustained release, while rigid spherical structures result in rapid burst release.


Jessica A Kretzmann, David C Luther, Cameron W Evans, Taewon Jeon, William Jerome, Sanjana Gopalakrishnan, Yi-Wei Lee, Marck Norret, K Swaminathan Iyer, Vincent M Rotello. Regulation of Proteins to the Cytosol Using Delivery Systems with Engineered Polymer Architecture. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2021 Mar 31;143(12):4758-4765

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PMID: 33705125

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