Antigen-Specific Delivery of siRNA Against Eucaryotic Elongation Factor 2 by Rationally Designed Bivalent Aptamer-siRNA Transcripts
For potential therapeutic applications of RNA interference, new strategies for cell type specific delivery have to be developed. Aptamers selectively binding to e.g. tumor-associated antigens can be used to deliver siRNAs to antigen-positive tumor cells.
We used an aptamer that binds specifically to PSMA, a cell surface glycoprotein found in abundance on prostate cancer cells, and joined its 3’ end to a siRNA specific for Eukaryotic Elongation Factor 2 (EEF2).
This is an attractive target for cancer therapy because inhibiting EEF2 causes the rapid arrest of protein synthesis, inducing apoptosis and leading ultimately to cell death.
In order to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of the aptamer-siRNA, we increased the valency of the construct by rational design. Two anti-PSMA aptamers were designed such that each binding sequence could fold independently into its active conformation.
Here we show specific cytotoxicity resulting from siRNA-induced silencing of EEF2, as well as specific delivery to PSMA-expressing prostate cancer cells. Increasing the valency of the aptamer resulted in enhanced cytotoxicity compared with the monovalent constructs. The results presented here demonstrate the usefulness of multivalent aptamer-based delivery vehicles for siRNA therapeutics.