Peptide and cationic lipid-based gene transfer vectors have shown promise for gene therapy but are still less efficient than viral gene transfer vectors. We have examined the mechanism of gene transfer of different adenovirus-mimetic peptides in the presence and absence of a cationic lipid, lipofectamine and/or adenovirus with the aim of improving the design of nonviral vectors for efficient gene transfer. Three polylysine-adenovirus-mimetic peptides were synthesised and examined for their efficacy for gene transfer. Transfection levels in four cell lines: adenovirus permissive human tracheal epithelial (56FHTE8o − ), human lung carcinoma (A549), human colon carcinoma (Caco-2) cells, and adenovirus low-permissive Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, were examined. The polylysine-adenovirus-mimetic peptides increased the level of transfection of a reporter transgene in all cell lines. Transfection was substantially increased when an adenovirus was added to cells after pre-incubation with the vector complexes. Formulation of the peptide vector complexes with lipofectamine increased their transfection efficacy and the subsequent addition of an adenovirus increased transfection levels even further but only in permissive cells. Pre-incubation of cells with lipofectamine-peptide vector complexes increased cell binding of the adenovirus but uptake was only increased in intermediate- or non-permissive cells. The addition of lipofectamine increased transgene expression of a recombinant adenovirus in non-permissive cells but not in permissive cells. Enhancement with an adenovirus of peptide vector gene transfer is probably due to more efficient endosome escape while enhancement of gene transfer by peptide vectors complexed to lipofectamine is due to an increase in cellular binding and/or internalisation of the adenovirus.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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