Established cell transfection via nucleofection relies on nucleofection buffers with unknown and proprietary makeup due to trade secrecy, inhibiting the possibility of using this otherwise effective method for developing cell therapy. We devised a three-step method for discovering an optimal formulation for the nucleofection of any cell-line. These steps include the selection of the best nucleofection program and known buffer type, selection of the best polymer for boosting the transfection efficiency of the best buffer, and the comparison with the optimal buffer from an established commercial vendor (Amaxa). Using this 3-step selection system, competitive nucleofection formulations were discovered for multiple cell lines, which are equal to or surpass the efficiency of the Amaxa nucleofector solution in a variety of cells and cell lines, including primary adipose stem cells, muscle cells, tumor cells, and immune cells. Through the use of scanning electron microscopy, we have revealed morphological changes, which predispose for the ability of these buffers to assist in transferring plasmid DNA into the nuclear space. Our formulation may greatly reduce the cost of electroporation study in laboratory and boosts the potential of application of electroporation-based cell therapies in clinical trials.
electroporation; cell transfection; cell therapy; adipose stem cells; formulation
The delivery of DNA into human cells has been the basis of advances in the understanding of gene function and the development of genetic therapies. Numerous chemical and physical approaches have been used to deliver the DNA, but their efficacy has been variable and is highly dependent on the cell type to be transfected.
Studies were undertaken to evaluate and compare the transfection efficacy of several chemical reagents to that of the electroporation/nucleofection system using both adherent cells (primary and transformed airway epithelial cells and primary fibroblasts as well as embryonic stem cells) and cells in suspension (primary hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells and lymphoblasts). With the exception of HEK 293 cell transfection, nucleofection proved to be less toxic and more efficient at effectively delivering DNA into the cells as determined by cell proliferation and GFP expression, respectively. Lipofectamine and nucleofection of HEK 293 were essentially equivalent in terms of toxicity and efficiency. Transient transfection efficiency in all the cell systems ranged from 40%-90%, with minimal toxicity and no apparent species specificity. Differences in efficiency and toxicity were cell type/system specific.
In general, the Amaxa electroporation/nucleofection system appears superior to other chemical systems. However, there are cell-type and species specific differences that need to be evaluated empirically to optimize the conditions for transfection efficiency and cell survival.
Genetic manipulation of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) has been limited by their general resistance to common methods used to introduce exogenous DNA or RNA. Efficient and high throughput transfection of nucleic acids into hESC would be a valuable experimental tool to manipulate these cells for research and clinical applications.
We investigated the ability of two commercially available electroporation systems, the Nucleofection® 96-well Shuttle® System from Lonza and the Neon™ Transfection System from Invitrogen to efficiently transfect hESC. Transfection efficiency was measured by flow cytometry for the expression of the green fluorescent protein and the viability of the transfected cells was determined by an ATP catalyzed luciferase reaction. The transfected cells were also analyzed by flow cytometry for common markers of pluripotency.
Both systems are capable of transfecting hESC at high efficiencies with little loss of cell viability. However, the reproducibility and the ease of scaling for high throughput applications led us to perform more comprehensive tests on the Nucleofection® 96-well Shuttle® System. We demonstrate that this method yields a large fraction of transiently transfected cells with minimal loss of cell viability and pluripotency, producing protein expression from plasmid vectors in several different hESC lines. The method scales to a 96-well plate with similar transfection efficiencies at the start and end of the plate. We also investigated the efficiency with which stable transfectants can be generated and recovered under antibiotic selection. Finally, we found that this method is effective in the delivery of short synthetic RNA oligonucleotides (siRNA) into hESC for knockdown of translation activity via RNA interference.
Our results indicate that these electroporation methods provide a reliable, efficient, and high-throughput approach to the genetic manipulation of hESC.
Achieving efficient introduction of plasmid DNA into primary cultures of mammalian cells is a common problem in biomedical research. Human primary cranial suture cells are derived from the connective mesenchymal tissue between the bone forming regions at the edges of the calvarial plates of the skull. Typically they are referred to as suture mesenchymal cells and are a heterogeneous population responsible for driving the rapid skull growth that occurs in utero and postnatally. To better understand the molecular mechanisms involved in skull growth, and in abnormal growth conditions, such as craniosynostosis, caused by premature bony fusion, it is essential to be able to easily introduce genes into primary bone forming cells to study their function.
A comparison of several lipid-based techniques with two electroporation-based techniques demonstrated that the electroporation method known as nucleofection produced the best transfection efficiency. The parameters of nucleofection, including cell number, amount of DNA and nucleofection program, were optimized for transfection efficiency and cell survival. Two different genes and two promoter reporter vectors were used to validate the nucleofection method and the responses of human primary suture mesenchymal cells by fluorescence microscopy, RT-PCR and the dual luciferase assay. Quantification of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signalling using luciferase reporters demonstrated robust responses of the cells to both osteogenic BMP2 and to the anti-osteogenic BMP3.
A nucleofection protocol has been developed that provides a simple and efficient, non-viral alternative method for in vitro studies of gene and protein function in human skull growth. Human primary suture mesenchymal cells exhibit robust responses to BMP2 and BMP3, and thus nucleofection can be a valuable method for studying the potential competing action of these two bone growth factors in a model system of cranial bone growth.
Transfection; Nucleofection; Skull; Bone; Primary cell culture; Mesenchymal; BMP2; luciferase
Background. Transfection efficacy after nonviral gene transfer in primary epithelial cells is limited. The aim of this study was to compare transfection efficacy of the recently available method of nucleofection with the established transfection reagent FuGENE6. Methods. Primary human keratinocytes (HKC), primary human fibroblasts (HFB), and a human keratinocyte cell line (HaCaT) were transfected with reporter gene construct by FuGENE6 or Amaxa Nucleofector device. At corresponding time points, β-galactosidase expression, cell proliferation (MTT-Test), transduction efficiency (X-gal staining), cell morphology, and cytotoxicity (CASY) were determined.
Results. Transgene expression after nucleofection was significantly higher in HKC and HFB and detected earlier (3 h vs. 24 h) than in FuGENE6. After lipofection 80%–90% of the cells remained proliferative without any influence on cell morphology. In contrast, nucleofection led to a decrease in keratinocyte cell size, with only 20%–42% proliferative cells.
Conclusion. Related to the method-dependent increase of cytotoxicity, transgene expression after nucleofection was earlier and higher than after lipofection.
Although various non-viral transfection methods are available, cell-toxicity, low transfection efficiency and high-cost remain hurdles for in vitro gene delivery in cultured primary endothelial cells. Recently, unprecedented transfection efficiency for primary endothelial cells has been achieved due to the newly developed nucleofection technology that utilizes a combination of novel electroporation conditions and specific buffer components that stabilize the cells in the electrical field. Despite its superior transfection efficiency and cell viability, high cost of the technology has discouraged the cardiovascular researchers to liberally adopt this new technology. Here, we report that a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS)-based nucleofection method can be used for efficient gene delivery into primary endothelial cells and other types of cells. Comparative analyses of transfection efficiency and cell viability for primary arterial, venous, microvascular and lymphatic endothelial cells were performed by using PBS. Compared to the commercial buffers, PBS can support equally remarkable nucleofection efficiency to both primary and non-primary cells. Moreover, PBS-mediated nucleofection of siRNA showed more than 90% knockdown of the expression of target genes in primary endothelial cells. Together, we demonstrate that PBS can be an unprecedented economical alternative for the high-cost buffers for nucleofection of various primary and non-primary cells.
electroporation; nucleofection; primary endothelial cells; phosphate-buffered saline
Neural stem cells (NSCs) have the ability to proliferate and differentiate into various types of cells that compose the nervous system. To study functions of genes in stem cell biology, genes or siRNAs need to be transfected. However, it is difficult to transfect ectopic genes into NSCs. Thus to identify the suitable method to achieve high transfection efficiency, we compared lipid transfection, electroporation, nucleofection and retroviral transduction. Among the methods that we tested, we found that nucleofection and retroviral transduction showed significantly increased transfection efficiency. In addition, with retroviral transduction of Ngn2 that is known to induce neurogenesis in various types of cells, we observed facilitated final cell division in rat NSCs. These data suggest that nucleofection and retroviral transduction provide high efficiency of gene delivery system to study functions of genes in rat NSCs.
Electroporation; Lipid-Mediated transfection; Neural stem cells; Nucleofection; Retrovirus
Human embryonic stem cell–derived neural progenitors (NP) present an important tool for understanding human development and disease. Optimal utilization of NP cells, however, requires an enhanced ability to monitor these cells in vitro and in vivo. Here we report production of the first genetically modified self-renewing human embryonic stem cell–derived NP cells that express fluorescent proteins under constitutive as well as lineage-specific promoters, enabling tracking and monitoring of cell fate. Nucleofection, transfection, and lentiviral transduction were compared for optimal gene delivery to NP cells. Transduction was most efficient in terms of transgene expression (37%), cell viability (39%), and long-term reporter expression (>3 months). Further, the constitutive gene promoters, cytomegalovirus, elongation factor 1α, and ubiquitin-C, exhibited comparable silencing (20–30%) in NP cells over a 2-month period, suggesting their suitability for long-term reporter expression studies. Transduced NP cells maintained their progenitor state and differentiation potential, as demonstrated by expression of endogenous NP markers and neuronal markers after differentiation. We also detected reporter expression in astrocytes generated from NP cells transduced with an astrocyte-specific gene promoter, glial fibrillary acidic protein, demonstrating the usefulness of this approach. The genetically manipulated NP cells described here offer great potential for live cell–tracking experiments, and a similar approach can as well be used for expression of proteins other than reporters.
Cell lines from Atlantic salmon kidney have made it possible to culture and study infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV), an aquatic orthomyxovirus affecting farmed Atlantic salmon. However, transfection of these cells using calcium phosphate precipitation or lipid-based reagents shows very low transfection efficiency. The Amaxa Nucleofector technology™ is an electroporation technique that has been shown to be efficient for gene transfer into primary cells and hard to transfect cell lines.
Here we demonstrate, enhanced transfection of the head kidney cell line, TO, from Atlantic salmon using nucleofection and subsequent flow cytometry. Depending on the plasmid promoter, TO cells could be transfected transiently with an efficiency ranging from 11.6% to 90.8% with good viability, using Amaxa's cell line nucleofector solution T and program T-20. A kill curve was performed to investigate the most potent antibiotic for selection of transformed cells, and we found that blasticidin and puromycin were the most efficient for selection of TO cells.
The results show that nucleofection is an efficient way of gene transfer into Atlantic salmon cells and that stably transfected cells can be selected with blasticidin or puromycin.
Genetic modification is continuing to be an essential tool in studying stem cell biology and in setting forth potential clinical applications of human embryonic stem cells (HESCs)1. While improvements in several gene delivery methods have been described2-9, transfection remains a capricious process for HESCs, and has not yet been reported in human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). In this video, we demonstrate how our lab routinely transfects and nucleofects human iPSCs using plasmid with an enhanced green fluorescence protein (eGFP) reporter. Human iPSCs are adapted and maintained as feeder-free cultures to eliminate the possibility of feeder cell transfection and to allow efficient selection of stable transgenic iPSC clones following transfection. For nucleofection, human iPSCs are pre-treated with ROCK inhibitor11, trypsinized into small clumps of cells, nucleofected and replated on feeders in feeder cell-conditioned medium to enhance cell recovery. Transgene-expressing human iPSCs can be obtained after 6 hours. Antibiotic selection is applied after 24 hours and stable transgenic lines appear within 1 week. Our protocol is robust and reproducible for human iPSC lines without altering pluripotency of these cells.
Gene delivery to stem cells holds great potential for tissue regeneration and delivery of therapeutic proteins. The major barrier is the lack of safe and efficient delivery methods. Here, we report enhanced gene delivery systems for human stem cells using biodegradable polymeric vectors. A library of poly (β-amino esters) end-modified derivatives was developed and optimized for high transfection efficiency and low cytotoxicity for three human stem cell lines including human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) and human embryonic stem cell-derived cells (hESCds). In the presence of 10% serum, leading end-modified C32 polymeric vectors exhibited significantly high transfection efficiency in hMSCs (27±2%), hADSCs (24±3%) and hESCds (56±11%), with high cell viability (87-97%) achieved in all cell types. Our results show that poly(β-amino esters) as a class, and end-modified versions of C32 in particular, are efficient polymeric vectors for gene delivery to both adult and embryonic-derived stem cells.
stem cells; gene delivery; biodegradable; polymeric vectors
Primary autologous B-lymphocytes, following ex vivo gene transfer and re-implantation, have been successfully utilized to prevent autoimmune disease and adaptive responses to therapeutic proteins in several animal models. However, efficient gene transfer to primary B cells requires use of retroviral vectors, which increase the risk of insertional mutagenesis. Here, we evaluated several alternative gene transfer approaches. Resting splenic B cells were purified and activated with LPS, and ex vivo GFP gene transfer was performed by means of nucleofection, lipofectamine, adenoviral infection, or murine retroviral infection. The Adenoviral (Ad) vectors were added to B cell cultures with or without calcium phosphate precipitation. For transfection and nucleofection, naked plasmid DNA was utilized. Nucleofection technology represents a modified electroporation technique for effective transfer of nucleic acids to the nucleus and thus enhances the efficiency of transfer particularly for primary cells. Efficiency of ex vivo gene transfer was determined by flow cytometry using GFP, CD19, and a vital dye as markers. Nucleofection yielded the highest level of gene transfer with 60–65% of B cells being GFP+. Efficiencies were 30–35% for retrovirus, 20% for Ad5/11, 15% for Ad5/35, and 5% for lipofectamine-mediated transfection. Calcium phosphate precipitation increased efficiencies for Ad vectors to 30% (Ad5/11) and 25% (Ad5/35). Lipofectamin caused the greatest cell death at 80%, followed by nucleofection (35%), and viral vector (10–15% in each case). For all methods, gene transfer efficiencies were nearly identical for B cells from C57BL/6 or C3H/HeOuJ mice. In conclusion, recent advances in gene transfer technologies provide alternatives to retroviral vectors for primary B cells. If stable gene transfer is desired, non-integrating vector systems may be combined with transposon- or phage integrase-based systems or future site-specific systems to achieve integration into the host B cell genome.
B cells; Transfection; Ex vivo gene transfer; Plasmid DNA; Adenovirus; Retrovirus
It is becoming increasingly apparent that electroporation is the most effective way to introduce plasmid DNA or siRNA into primary cells. The Gene Pulser MXcell electroporation system and Gene Pulser electroporation buffer (Bio-Rad) were specifically developed to easily transfect nucleic acids into mammalian cells and difficult-to-transfect cells, such as primary and stem cells. We will demonstrate how to perform a simple experiment to quickly identify the best electroporation conditions. We will demonstrate how to run several samples through a range of electroporation conditions so that an experiment can be conducted at the same time as optimization is performed. We will also show how optimal conditions identified using 96-well electroporation plates can be used with standard electroporation cuvettes, facilitating the switch from electroporation plates to electroporation cuvettes while maintaining the same electroporation efficiency. In the video, we will also discuss some of the key factors that can lead to the success or failure of electroporation experiments.
Human mesenchymal stromal cell (hMSC) is a potential target for cell and gene therapy-based approaches against a variety of different diseases. Whilst cationic lipofection has been widely experimented, the Nucleofector technology is a relatively new non-viral transfection method designed for primary cells and hard-to-transfect cell lines. Herein, we compared the efficiency and viability of nucleofection with cationic lipofection, and used the more efficient transfection method, nucleofection, to deliver a construct of minimalistic, immunologically defined gene expression encoding the erythropoietin (MIDGE-EPO) into hMSC. MIDGE construct is relatively safer than the viral and plasmid expression systems as the detrimental eukaryotic and prokaryotic gene and sequences have been eliminated. Using a plasmid encoding the luciferase gene, we demonstrated a high transfection efficiency using the U-23 (21.79 ± 1.09%) and C-17 (5.62 ± 1.09%) pulsing program in nucleofection. The cell viabilities were (44.93 ± 10.10)% and (21.93 ± 5.72)%, respectively 24 h post-nucleofection. On the other hand, lipofection treatment only yielded less than 0.6% efficiencies despite showing higher viabilities. Nucleofection did not affect hMSC renewability, immunophenotype and differentiation potentials. Subsequently, we nucleofected MIDGE-EPO using the U-23 pulsing program into hMSC. The results showed that, despite a low nucleofection efficiency with this construct, the EPO protein was stably expressed in the nucleofected cells up to 55 days when determined by ELISA or immunocytochemical staining. In conclusion, nucleofection is an efficient non-viral transfection approach for hMSC, which when used in conjunction with a MIDGE construct, could result in extended and stable transgene expression in hMSC.
Bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells; Nucleofection; Cationic lipofection; MIDGE; Erythropoietin
Technologies designed to allow manipulation and modification of human embryonic stem (hES) cells are numerous and vary in the complexity of their methods, efficiency, reliability, and safety. The most commonly studied and practiced of these methods include electroporation, lipofection, nucleofection, and lentiviral transduction. However, at present, it is unclear which protocol offers the most efficient and reliable method of gene transfer to hES cells. In this study, a bi-fusion construct with ubiquitin promoter driving enhanced green fluorescent protein reporter and the firefly luciferase (pUb-eGFP-Fluc) along with neomycin selection marker was used for in vitro and in vivo studies. In vitro studies examined the transfection efficiency and viability of each technique using two hES cell lines (male H1 and female H9 cells). Lentiviral transduction demonstrated the highest efficiency (H1: 25.3 ± 4.8%; H9: 22.4 ± 6.5%) with >95% cell viability. Nucleofection demonstrated transfection efficiency of 16.1 ± 3.6% (H1) and 5.8 ± 3.2% (H9). However, minimal transfection efficiency was observed with electroporation (2.1 ± 0.4% (H1) and 1.9 ± 0.3% (H9)) and lipofection (1.5 ± 0.5% (H1) and 1.3 ± 0.2% (H9); P < 0.05 vs. lentiviral transduction). Electroporation also demonstrated the highest cell death (62 ± 11% (H1) and 42 ± 10% (H9)) followed by nucleofection (25 ± 9% (H1) and 30 ± 15 (H9)). Importantly, lentiviral transduction generated a greater number of hES cell lines stably expressing the double-fusion reporter gene (hES-DF) compared to other transfection techniques. Finally, following subcutaneous transplantation into immunodeficient nude mice, the hES-eGFP-Fluc cells showed robust proliferation as determined by longitudinal bioluminescence imaging. In summary, this study demonstrates that lentiviral transduction and nucleofection are efficient, simple, and safe techniques for reliable gene transfer in hES cells. The double-fusion construct provides an attractive approach for generating stable hES cell lines and monitoring engraftment and proliferation in vitro and in vivo.
Human embryonic stem cell; Molecular imaging; Gene transfer; Plasmid transfection; Lentivirus transduction
Germline stem cells (GSCs) can be used for large-animal transgenesis, in which GSCs that are genetically manipulated in vitro are transplanted into a recipient testis to generate donor-derived transgenic sperm. The objectives of this study were to explore a non-viral approach for transgene delivery into goat GSCs and to investigate the efficiency of nucleofection in producing transgenic sperm. Four recipient goats received fractionated irradiation at 8 weeks of age to deplete endogenous GSCs. Germ-cell transplantations were performed 8-9 weeks post-irradiation. Donor cells were collected from testes of 9 week-old goats, enriched for GSCs by Staput velocity sedimentation, and transfected by nucleofection with a transgene construct harboring the human growth hormone gene under the control of the goat beta-casein promoter (GBC) and a chicken beta-globin insulator (CBGI) sequence upstream of the promoter. For each recipient, transfected cells from 10 nucleofection reactions were pooled, mixed with non-transfected cells to a total of 1.5×108 cells in 3ml, and transplanted into one testis (n = 4 recipients) by ultrasound-guided cannulation of the rete testis. The second testis of each recipient was removed. Semen was collected starting at 9 months after transplantation for a period of over a year (a total of 62 ejaculates from 4 recipients). Nested genomic PCR for hGH and CBGI sequences demonstrated that 31.3%±12.6% of ejaculates were positive for both hGH and CBGI. This study provides proof-of-concept that non-viral transfection (nucleofection) of primary goat germ cells followed by germ cell transplantation results in transgene transmission to sperm in recipient goats.
Transgenic animals; germline stem cells; spermatogenesis; nucleofection; germ cell transplantation
Nucleofection permits efficient transfection even with difficult cell types such as primary and non-dividing cells, and is used to deliver various nucleic acids including DNA, mRNA, and siRNA. Unlike DNA and siRNA, mRNA is subject to rapid degradation, which necessitates instant early translation following mRNA delivery. We examined factors important in translation following nucleofection and observed rapid phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF2α) following nucleofection, which occurred in the absence of delivered nucleic acid. We studied the involvement of 3 ubiquitous kinases capable of phosphorylating eIF2α in mammalian cells and identified that nucleofection-mediated phosphorylation of eIF2α was dependent on general control non-derepressible 2 (GCN2) and protein kinase RNA-activated (PKR)-like ER kinase (PERK) but not PKR. A reduction in translation due to eIF2α phosphorylation was observed post nucleofection demonstrating functional significance. Understanding the impact of nucleofection on translational machinery has important implications for therapeutics currently under development based on the delivery of mRNA, DNA, and siRNA. Strategies to circumvent eIF2α phosphorylation and other downstream effects of activating GCN2 and PERK will facilitate further advancement of nucleic acid-based therapies.
Nucleofection; mRNA therapy; eIF2α; PERK; GCN2
Nucleofection is an emerging technology for delivery of nucleic acids into both the cytoplasm and nucleus of eukaryotic cells with high efficiency. This makes it an ideal technology for gene delivery and siRNA applications. A 96-well format has recently been made available for high-throughput nucleofection, however conditions must be optimized for delivery into each specific cell type. Screening each 96-well plate can be expensive, and descriptions of methods and outcomes to determine the best conditions are lacking in the literature. Here we employ simple methods, including cell counting, microscopy, viability and cytotoxicity assays to describe the minimal experimental methods required to optimize nucleofection conditions for a given cell line.
We comprehensively measured and analyzed the outcomes of the 96-well nucleofection of pmaxGFP plasmids encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the A-549 human lung epithelial cell line. Fluorescent microscopy and a plate reader were used to respectively observe and quantify green fluorescence in both whole and lysed cells. Cell viability was determined by direct counting/permeability assays, and by both absorbance and fluorescence-based plate reader cytotoxicity assays. Finally, an optimal nucleofection condition was used to deliver siRNA and gene specific knock-down was demonstrated.
GFP fluorescence among conditions ranged from non-existent to bright, based upon the fluorescent microscopy and plate reader results. Correlation between direct counting of cells and plate-based cytotoxicity assays were from R = .81 to R = .88, depending on the assay. Correlation between the GFP fluorescence of lysed and unlysed cells was high, ranging from R = .91 to R = .97. Finally, delivery of a pooled sample of siRNAs targeting the gene relA using an optimized nucleofection condition resulted in a 70–95% knock down of the gene over 48 h with 90–97% cell viability.
Our results show the optimal 96-well nucleofection conditions for the widely-used human cell line, A-549. We describe simple, effective methods for determining optimal conditions with high confidence, providing a useful road map for other laboratories planning optimization of specific cell lines or primary cells. Our analysis of outcomes suggests the need to only measure unlysed, whole-cell fluorescence and cell metabolic activity using a plate reader cytotoxicity assay to determine the best conditions for 96-well nucleofection.
Dendritic cells (DC) are potent antigen-presenting cells that hold promise as cell-based therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer. Ideally, DC would be engineered to express autologous viral or tumor antigens to ensure the presentation of relevant antigens to host T cells in vivo; however, expression of wild-type viral genes in primary cell lines can be problematic. Nucleofection is an effective means of delivering transgenes to primary cell lines, but its use in transfecting DNA or mRNA into DC has not been widely investigated. We show that nucleofection is a superior means of transfecting human and monkey monocyte-derived DC with DNA and mRNA compared to lipofection and conventional electroporation. However, the delivery of DNA and mRNA had significantly different outcomes in transfected DC. DC nucleofected with DNA encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) had poor antigen expression and viability and were refractory to maturation with CD40 ligand. In contrast, >90% of DC expressed uniform and high levels of GFP from 3 h to 96 h postnucleofection with mRNA while maintaining a normal maturation response to CD40 ligation. Monkey DC nucleofected with wild-type, non-codon-optimized mRNA encoding simian immunodeficiency virus Gag stimulated robust antigen-specific effector T-cell responses at 24 h and 48 h postnucleofection, reflecting sustained antigen presentation in transfected DC, whereas no detectable T-cell response was noted when DC were nucleofected with DNA encoding the same Gag sequence. These data indicate that mRNA nucleofection may be an optimal means of transfecting DC with autologous tumor or viral antigen for DC-based immunotherapy.
We present a simple and efficient method for expressing cDNAs in Purkinje neurons (PNs) present in heterogeneous mouse cerebellar cultures. The method combines the transfection of freshly-dissociated cerebellar cells via nucleofection with the use of novel expression plasmids containing a fragment of the L7 (Pcp2) gene that, within the cerebellum, drives PN-specific expression. The efficiency of PN transfection (determined 13 days post nucleofection) is approximately 70%. Double and triple transfections are routinely achieved at slightly lower efficiencies. Expression in PNs is obvious after one week in culture and still strong after three weeks, by which time these neurons are well-developed. Moreover, high-level expression is restricted almost exclusively to the PNs present in these mixed cultures, which greatly facilitates the characterization of PN-specific functions. As proof of principle, we used this method to visualize (1) the morphology of living PNs expressing mGFP, (2) the localization and dynamics of the dendritic spine proteins PSD-93 and Homer-3a tagged with mGFP and (3) the interaction of live PNs expressing mGFP with other cerebellar neurons expressing mCherry from a β-Actin promoter plasmid. Finally, we created a series of L7-plasmids containing different fluorescent protein cDNAs that are suited for the expression of cDNAs of interest as N- and C-terminally tagged fluorescent fusion proteins. In summary, this procedure allows for the highly efficient, long-term, and specific expression of multiple cDNAs in differentiated PNs, and provides a favorable alternative to two procedures (viral transduction, ballistic gene delivery) used previously to express genes in cultured PNs.
cerebellar culture; Purkinje cells; dendritic spines; L7 (Pcp2); Amaxa nucleofection; transfection; live cell microscopy
Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to induced pluripotent stem cells by over-expression of OCT4, SOX2, KLF4 and c-MYC (OSKM). With the aim of unveiling the early mechanisms underlying the induction of pluripotency, we have analyzed transcriptional profiles at 24, 48 and 72 hours post-transduction of OSKM into human foreskin fibroblasts. Experiments confirmed that upon viral transduction, the immediate response is innate immunity, which induces free radical generation, oxidative DNA damage, p53 activation, senescence, and apoptosis, ultimately leading to a reduction in the reprogramming efficiency. Conversely, nucleofection of OSKM plasmids does not elicit the same cellular stress, suggesting viral response as an early reprogramming roadblock. Additional initiation events include the activation of surface markers associated with pluripotency and the suppression of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Furthermore, reconstruction of an OSKM interaction network highlights intermediate path nodes as candidates for improvement intervention. Overall, the results suggest three strategies to improve reprogramming efficiency employing: 1) anti-inflammatory modulation of innate immune response, 2) pre-selection of cells expressing pluripotency-associated surface antigens, 3) activation of specific interaction paths that amplify the pluripotency signal.
Human adult mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) are under active investigation as cellular carriers for gene therapy. hMSC possess natural tropism toward tumors, however, the targeting of hMSC to specific cell populations within tumors is unexplored. In the case of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), at least half of the tumors express EGFRvIII on the cell surface, an ideal target for antibody-mediated gene/drug delivery. In this study, we investigated the feasibility of genetically modifying hMSC to express a single-chain antibody (scFv) to EGFRvIII on their surface. Nucleofection was used to transfect hMSC with cDNA encoding scFv EGFRvIII fused with PDGFR or human B7-1 transmembrane domains. The expression of scFv EGFRvIII on the cell surface was assessed by FACS. A stable population of scFv EGFRvIII-expressing hMSC was selected based on antibiotic resistance and enriched using FACS. We found that nucleofection allows the efficient expression of scFv EGFRvIII on the cell surface of hMSC. hMSCs transfected with the construct encoding scFv EGFRvIII as a fusion with PDGFRtm showed scFv EGFRvIII expression in up to 86% of cells. Most importantly, human MSC expressing scFv against EGFRvIII demonstrated enhanced binding to U87-EGFRvIII cells in vitro and at least 7-fold increased retention in human U87-EGFRvIII expressing tumors in vivo. In summary, we provide the first conclusive evidence of genetic modification of hMSC with a single-chain antibody against an antigen expressed on the surface of tumor cells, thereby opening up a new venue for enhanced delivery of gene therapy applications in the context of malignant brain cancer.
mesenchymal stem cells; single-chain antibody; surface; targeting; brain tumors; EGFRvIII
Stem cell transplantation holds promise as a therapeutic approach for the repair of damaged myocardial tissue. One challenge of this approach is efficient delivery and long-term retention of the stem cells. Although several synthetic and natural biomaterials have been developed for this purpose, the ideal formulation has yet to be identified.
Materials & methods
Here we investigate the utility of a nondenatured, noncrosslinked, commercially available natural biomaterial (TissueMend® [TEI Biosciences, Boston, MA, USA]) for delivery of human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to the murine heart.
We found that MSCs attached, proliferated and migrated within and out of the TissueMend matrix in vitro. Human MSCs delivered to damaged murine myocardium via the matrix (2.3 × 104 ± 0.8 × 104 CD73+ cells/matrix) were maintained in vivo for 3 weeks and underwent at least three population doublings during that period (21.9 × 104 ± 14.4 × 104 CD73+ cells/matrix). In addition, collagen within the TissueMend matrix could be remodeled by MSCs in vivo, resulting in a significant decrease in the coefficient of alignment of fibers (0.12 ± 0.12) compared with the matrix alone (0.28 ± 0.07), and the MSCs were capable of migrating out of the matrix and into the host tissue.
Thus, TissueMend matrix offers a commercially available, biocompatible and malleable vehicle for the delivery and retention of stem cells to the heart.
biomaterial; cardiac patch; cardiac regeneration; collagen; mesenchymal stem cells
Lacrimal gland acinar cells are an important cell type to study due to their role in production and release of tear proteins, a function essential for ocular surface integrity and normal visual acuity. However, mechanistic studies are often limited by problems with transfection using either plasmid DNA or siRNA. Although various gene delivery methods are available, many have been unproductive due to consistently low transfection efficiencies. We have developed a method using nucleofection that can result in 50% transfection efficiency and 60% knockdown efficiency for plasmid DNA and siRNA, respectively. These results are vastly improved relative to previous studies, demonstrating that nucleofection offers an efficient transfection technique for primary lacrimal gland acinar cells.
Transfection; Nucleofection; Primary epithelial cells; Acinar cells; Lacrimal gland
Transfection has become an everyday technique widely used for functional studies in living cells. The choice of the particular transfection method is usually determined by its efficiency and toxicity, and possible functional consequences specific to the method used are normally overlooked. We describe here that nucleofection, a method increasingly used because of its convenience and high efficiency, increases the metabolic rate of some cancer cells, which can be misleading when used as a measure of proliferation. Moreover, nucleofection can alter the subcellular expression pattern of the transfected protein. These undesired effects are independent of the transfected nucleic acid, but depend on the particular cell line used. Therefore, the interpretation of functional data using this technology requires further controls and caution.
Nucleofection; Lipofection; Proliferation; Metabolic activity