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Effective photo-enhancement of cellular activity of fluorophore-octaarginine antisense PNA conjugates correlates with singlet oxygen formation, endosomal escape and chromophore lipophilicity

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Photochemical internalization (PCI) is a cellular drug delivery method based on the generation of light-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) causing damage to the endosomal membrane and thereby resulting in drug release to the cytoplasm. In our study a series of antisense fluorophore octaarginine peptide nucleic acid (PNA) conjugates were investigated in terms of PCI assisted cellular activity. It is found that tetramethylrhodamine and Alexa Fluor 555 conjugated octaarginine PNA upon irradiation exhibit more than ten-fold increase in antisense activity in the HeLa pLuc705 luciferase splice correction assay. An analogous fluorescein conjugate did not show any significant enhancement due to photobleaching, and neither did an Alexa Fluor 488 conjugate. Using fluorescence microscopy a correlation between endosomal escape and antisense activity was demonstrated, and in parallel a correlation to localized formation of ROS assigned primarily to singlet oxygen was also observed. The results show that tetramethylrhodamine (and to lesser extent Alexa Fluor 555) conjugated octaarginine PNAs are as effectively delivered to the cytosol compartment by PCI as by chloroquine assisted delivery and also indicate that efficient photodynamic endosomal escape is strongly dependent on the quantum yield for photochemical singlet oxygen formation, photostability as well as the lipophilicity of the chromophore.

Original languageEnglish
Article number638
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Issue number1
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

ID: 55873687