Current state of the art in peptide-based gene delivery

Roja Hadianamrei, Xiubo Zhao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gene therapy involves introduction of exogenous genetic materials into the cells in order to correct a specific pathological condition. However, efficient delivery of the genetic materials to the target cells is hampered by a number of extracellular and intracellular barriers which necessitates the use of gene vectors. Despite the high transfection efficiencies of the viral vectors, their immunogenicity and complex manufacturing procedures has led to the quest for development of non-viral vectors with lower toxicity and easier fabrication from a variety of materials such as polymers and lipids. More recently, peptides have been introduced as new promising biomaterials for gene delivery owing to their desirable physicochemical properties and their biocompatibility. Various naturally derived, synthetic or hybrid peptides with varying sizes and structural features have been used for gene delivery. In this review, a summary of recent advances in the development of peptide-based gene delivery systems for delivery of different types of genetic materials to different types of cells/tissues has been provided. The focus of this review is on gene delivery systems consisting merely of peptides without incorporation of polymers or lipids. The transfection efficiencies of different groups of peptides and their abilities for targeted gene delivery have been viewed in the context of their chemical structures in order to provide an insight into the structural features required for efficient gene delivery by different classes of peptides and to serve as a guide for rational design of new types of peptide vectors for highly efficient and tissue-specific gene delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-619
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Early online date16 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Peptide
  • Gene delivery
  • Non-viral vector
  • Transfection
  • Structural design
  • UKRI
  • EP/N007174/1
  • EP/N023579/1

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