Author:
Maria Maloverjan

Margus Pooga, professor of chemical biology

Group of transport peptides

Our group develops peptide-based carrier systems for delivering novel drug modalities into cells. Advent of personalised medicine requires the application of precision therapeutic agents, which mostly have a high molecular weight, a short half-life in an organism, and very low bioavailability. RNA-based vaccines and other therapeutics are active and efficient only when packed into nanoparticles (NPs) or bound to carriers. The cell penetrating peptides (nCPPs) of new generations condense nucleic acid molecules of various types into uniform nanoparticles that efficiently enter cells and modulate the expression of targeted genes both in tissue culture and in a living organism.

The main directions of our research:

  1. Design of novel chemically modified CPPs based on physico-chemical descriptors and using prediction programs to refine the properties, structure and association of peptides with nucleic acids.
  2. Characterisation of NPs consisting of nCPP and payload mRNA, miRNA, siRNA, SCO, or pDNA through physico-chemical analyses and investigating their biological effects in tissue culture systems.
  3. Elucidation of the mechanisms that nCPPs harness to non-invasively transduce nucleic acids of therapeutic potential into living cells.
  4. Screening of supplements for NPs that enhance the bioavailability of RNA through targeted delivery, empowering internalisation, endosomal escape, or release of RNA from NPs.
  5. Development of therapeutic RNA-carrying NPs for inflammatory diseases of the skin and airways and application in mouse models of disease. (In collaboration with Prof. Rebane IBMTM, Medical Faculty, UT)

Publications

Team:

Margus Pooga, Professor of Chemical Biology, CV

Researchers:

Ly Porosk (ly.porosk@ut.ee)

Geeta Arya (geeta.arya@ut.ee)

PhD Students

Maria Maloverjan (maria.maloverjan@ut.ee) (Cosupervision with Prof. Rebane IBMTM)

Hanna Andla (hanna.andla@ut.ee) (Cosupervision with Prof. Rebane IBMTM)

Students

MSc student Chigozie Chibueze Nkwocha (chigozie.chibueze.nkwocha@ut.ee)

BSc student İrem Ilgın Gümüşoğlu (irem.ilgin@hotmail.com)

Contact:

Margus Pooga

Faculty of Science and Technology

Institute of Technology

Professor of Chemical Biology

Nooruse 1-300

+372 737 4836

margus.pooga@ut.ee

https://www.etis.ee/CV/Margus_Pooga/eng/

Microphoto:

Restoration of EGFP expression (green) in HeLa-EGFP reporter cells with a splicing correcting oligonucleotide delivered into cells in nanoparticles consisting of transport peptide PF14 and Ca ions. The nucleus of cells is stained red.