O-Alkyl dioleoylphosphatidylcholinium compounds: the effect of varying alkyl chain length on their physical properties and in vitro DNA transfection activity.
1,2-Dioleoyl-sn-3-ethylphosphocholine (EDOPC) has been previously shown be a highly effective DNA transfection reagent in vitro. To assess the effect of alkyl chain length on transfection efficiency, the O-methyl, O-propyl, O-hexyl, O-decyl, and O-octadecyl derivatives have been prepared from dioleoylphosphatidylcholine using the corresponding alkyl trifluoromethylsulfonate. The methyl, ethyl, and propyl derivatives formed liposomes which were very large and unilamellar. The ethyl and propyl derivatives were equally efficient at mediating transfection (even in the presence of serum) of BHK cells, but the chemically labile methyl derivative was a much weaker transfection agent. The O-decyl and O-octadecyl compounds, which assume the inverted hexagonal phase in excess water (as determined by X-ray diffraction), were almost inactive after manual agitation in both water and in saline; however, after sonication, these compounds exhibited good transfection activity. The O-hexyl derivative displayed novel behavior, assuming the lamellar phase at low and a cubic phase at high ionic strength. All compounds, whether lamellar or not, formed lamellar structures when complexed with DNA. In water, where the hexyl compound dispersed well, sonication diminished transfection activity, whereas at physiological ionic strength, which led to poor manual dispersion, sonication was essential for good transfection. These results emphasize the importance of optimal dispersion of a cationic lipid: too little, and interaction with DNA is handicapped, too much, and the resultant particle transfects poorly. Lipid dispersibility is thus an important variable in assessing lipid transfection agents, and caution is advised in attributing too much significance to chemical structure until interaction with DNA has been optimized.
Rosenzweig, HS; Rakhmanova, VA; McIntosh, TJ; MacDonald, RC
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