Protein-based vehicles for biomimetic RNAi delivery

Thumbnail Image






Pottash, A.E., Kuffner, C., Noonan-Shueh, M. et al. Protein-based vehicles for biomimetic RNAi delivery. J Biol Eng 13, 19 (2019).


Broad translational success of RNA interference (RNAi) technology depends on the development of effective delivery approaches. To that end, researchers have developed a variety of strategies, including chemical modification of RNA, viral and non-viral transfection approaches, and incorporation with delivery vehicles such as polymer- and lipid-based nanoparticles, engineered and native proteins, extracellular vesicles (EVs), and others. Among these, EVs and protein-based vehicles stand out as biomimetically-inspired approaches, as both proteins (e.g. Apolipoprotein A-1, Argonaute 2, and Arc) and EVs mediate intercellular RNA transfer physiologically. Proteins specifically offer significant therapeutic potential due to their biophysical and biochemical properties as well as their ability to facilitate and tolerate manipulation; these characteristics have made proteins highly successful translational therapeutic molecules in the last two decades. This review covers engineered protein vehicles for RNAi delivery along with what is currently known about naturally-occurring extracellular RNA carriers towards uncovering design rules that will inform future engineering of protein-based vehicles.