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Photoactivatable RNAi for cancer gene therapy triggered by near-infrared-irradiated single-walled carbon nanotubes

Authors Ren XL, Lin J, Wang XF, Liu X, Meng EJ, Zhang R, Sang YX, Zhang ZZ

Received 16 May 2017

Accepted for publication 6 September 2017

Published 26 October 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 7885—7896


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Xueling Ren, Jing Lin, Xuefang Wang, Xiao Liu, Erjuan Meng, Rui Zhang, Yanxiao Sang, Zhenzhong Zhang

Key Laboratory of Targeting Therapy and Diagnosis for Critical Diseases, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: The efficacy of RNA interference (RNAi)-based cancer gene therapy is limited by its unexpected side effects, thus necessitating a strategy to precisely trigger conditional gene knockdown. In this study, we engineered a novel photoactivatable RNAi system, named as polyetherimide-modified single-wall carbon nanotube (PEI-SWNT)/pHSP-shT, that enables optogenetic control of targeted gene suppression in tumor cells. PEI-SWNT/pHSP-shT comprises a stimulus-responsive nanocarrier (PEI-SWNT), and an Hsp70B'-promoter-driven RNAi vector (pHSP-shT). In response to near-infrared (NIR) light irradiation, heating of PEI-SWNT in breast MCF-7 cells triggered gene knockdown targeting human telomerase reverse transcriptase through RNAi, with the gene-knockdown activity capable of being switched off by extinguishing the NIR. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the photoactivatable RNAi system exhibited higher antitumor activity by combining gene therapy and photothermal therapy, both in vitro and in vivo. Optogenetic control of RNAi based on an NIR-activated nanocarrier will potentially facilitate improved understanding of molecular-targeted gene therapy in human malignant tumors.

near-infrared light response, SWNT, RNAi, Hsp70B' promoter

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