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Sub-cellular temporal and spatial distribution of electrotransferred LNA/DNA oligomer

Low biological activity and inefficient targeted delivery in vivo have hindered RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapy from realising its full clinical potential. To overcome these hurdles, progresses have been made to develop new technologies optimizing oligonucleotides chemistry on one hand and achieving its effective delivery on the other hand. In this report, we achieved, by using the electropulsation technique (EP), efficient cellular delivery of chemically-modified oligonucleotide: The locked nucleic acid (LNA)/DNA oligomer. We used single cell level confocal fluorescence microscopy to follow the spatial and temporal distribution of electrotransferred cyanine 5 (Cy5)-labeled LNA/DNA oligomer. We observed that EP allowed LNA/DNA oligomer cellular uptake providing the oligomer a rapid access to the cytoplasm of HeLa cells. Within a few minutes after electrotransfer, Cy5- LNA/DNA oligomers shuttle from cytoplasm to nucleus whereas in absence of pulses application, Cy5-LNA/ DNA oligomers were not detected. We then observed a redistribution of the Cy5 fluorescence that accumulated over time into cytoplasmic organelles. To go further and to identify these compartments, we used the HeLa GFPRab7 cell line to visualise late endosomes, and lysosomal or mitochondrial specific markers. Our results showed that the EP technique allowed direct entry into the cytoplasm of the Cy5-LNA/DNA oligomer bypassing the endocytosic pathway. However, in absence of pulses application, Cy5-LNA/DNA oligomer were able to enter cells through the endocytosic pathway. We demonstrated that EP is an efficient technique for LNA-based oligonucleotides delivery offering strong advantages by avoiding the endolysosomal compartmentalization, giving a rapid and free access to the cytoplasm and the nucleus where they can find their targets.

Author(s): Julie Orio, Elisabeth Bellard, Houda Baaziz, Chantal Pichon, Peter Mouritzen, Marie-Pierre Rols, Justin Teissié, Muriel Golzio* and Sophie Chabot