Lysine-Derived Charge-Altering Releasable Transporters: Targeted Delivery of mRNA and siRNA to the Lungs

Timothy R. Blake, Ole A.W. Haabeth, Adrienne Sallets, Rebecca L. McClellan, Trevor J. Del Castillo, Jose G. Vilches-Moure, Wilson C. Ho, Paul A. Wender, Ronald Levy, Robert M. Waymouth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Targeted delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics to the lungs could transform treatment options for pulmonary disease. We have previously developed oligomeric charge-altering releasable transporters (CARTs) for in vivo mRNA transfection and demonstrated their efficacy for use in mRNA-based cancer vaccination and local immunomodulatory therapies against murine tumors. While our previously reported glycine-based CART-mRNA complexes (G-CARTs/mRNA) show selective protein expression in the spleen (mouse, >99%), here, we report a new lysine-derived CART-mRNA complex (K-CART/mRNA) that, without additives or targeting ligands, shows selective protein expression in the lungs (mouse, >90%) following systemic IV administration. We further show that by delivering siRNA using the K-CART, we can significantly decrease expression of a lung-localized reporter protein. Blood chemistry and organ pathology studies demonstrate that K-CARTs are safe and well-tolerated. We report on the new step economical, organocatalytic synthesis (two steps) of functionalized polyesters and oligo-carbonate-co-α-aminoester K-CARTs from simple amino acid and lipid-based monomers. The ability to direct protein expression selectively in the spleen or lungs by simple, modular changes to the CART structure opens fundamentally new opportunities in research and gene therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry


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