Cell Compatible Arginine Containing Cationic Polymer: One-Pot Synthesis and Preliminary Biological Assessment
Synthetic cationic polymers are of interest as both nonviral vectors for intracellular gene delivery and antimicrobial agents. For both applications synthetic polymers containing guanidine groups are of special interest since such kind of organic compounds/polymers show a high transfection potential along with antibacterial activity. It is important that the delocalization of the positive charge of the cationic group in guanidine significantly decreases the toxicity compared to the ammonium functionality. One of the most convenient ways for incorporating guanidine groups is the synthesis of polymers composed of the amino acid arginine (Arg) via either application of Arg-based monomers or chemical modification of polymers with derivatives of Arg. It is also important to have biodegradable cationic polymers that will be cleared from the body after their function as transfection or antimicrobial agent is fulfilled. This chapter deals with a two-step/onepot synthesis of a new biodegradable cationic polymer-poly(ethylene malamide) containing L-arginine methyl ester covalently attached to the macrochains in beta-position of the malamide residue via the alpha-amino group. The goal cationic polymer was synthesized by in situ interaction of arginine methyl ester dihydrochloride with intermediary poly(ethylene epoxy succinimide) formed by polycondensation of di-p-nitrophenyl-trans-epoxy succinate with ethylenediamine. The cell compatibility study with Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) and insect Schneider 2 cells (S2) within the concentration range of 0.02-500 mg/mL revealed that the new polymer is not cytotoxic. It formed nanocomplexes with pDNA (120-180 nm in size) at low polymer/DNA weight ratios (WR = 5-10). A preliminarily transfection efficiency of the Arg-containing new cationic polymer was assessed using CHO, S2, H5, and Sf9 cells.