Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version


Citation vol. 19 no. 12, 2144–2151 dec. 2011


© The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Used by permission.


Inefficient gene delivery is a critical factor limiting the use of nonviral methods in therapeutic applications including gene therapy and tissue engineering. There have been few efforts to understand or engineer the molecular signaling pathways that dictate the efficacy of gene transfer. Microarray analysis was used to determine endogenous gene expression profiles modulated during nonviral gene transfer. Nonviral DNA lipoplexes were delivered to HEK 293T cells. Flow cytometry was used to isolate a population of transfected cells. Expression patterns were compared between transfected and nontransfected samples, which revealed three genes that were significantly upregulated in transfected cells, including RAP1A, a GTPase implicated in integrin-mediated cell adhesion, and HSP70B′, a stress-inducible gene that may be important for maintaining cell viability. Furthermore, RAP1A was also significantly upregulated in untransfected cells that were exposed to lipoplexes but that had not expressed the transgene as compared to control, untreated cells. Transfection in the presence of activators of upregulated genes was enhanced, demonstrating the principle of altering endogenous gene expression profiles to enhance transfection. With a greater understanding of signaling pathways involved in gene delivery, more efficient nonviral delivery schemes capitalizing on endogenous factors can be developed to advance therapeutic applications.