Glycosylated carriers for cell-selective and nuclear delivery of nucleic acids

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jun 1;16:2970-87. doi: 10.2741/3892.


Targeted gene delivery via selective cellular receptors has been realized as a crucial strategy for successful gene therapy by maximizing therapeutic efficiency in target cells and minimizing systemic toxicity. The membrane carbohydrate-binding proteins (membrane lectins) with different carbohydrate specificities are differentially expressed on the cellular and intracellular membranes of a number of cells. Their multiplicity, high affinity, and effective endocytosis after receptor binding as well as the biocompatibility of carbohydrate ligands endow them as potential ligands for glycosylated carriers in cell-selective delivery of nucleic acids. To achieve the in vivo application, glycosylated carriers/nucleic acid complexes have to fulfill certain conditions, including having a suitable size, minimal nonspecific interactions, low immunogenicity, and high uptake in target cells. Accordingly, the effective nuclear delivery of nucleic acids is the paramount important step for efficient gene transfer. This review summarizes the recent progress regarding application of glycosylated carriers for cell-selective and nuclear delivery of nucleic acids and their critical factors for efficient gene transfer. In addition, the development of new materials, such as carbon nanotubes, carbon nanospheres, and gold nanoparticles, as innovative carriers will be discussed with regards to glycosylation-mediated delivery of nucleic acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Drug Carriers* / chemistry
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Glycosylation
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / drug effects
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / therapy
  • Nucleic Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Nucleic Acids / genetics*
  • Targeted Gene Repair / methods


  • Drug Carriers
  • Nucleic Acids