Transferrin-polycation conjugates as carriers for DNA uptake into cells

Wagner, E., Zenke, M., Cotten, M. , Beug, H. and Birnstiel, M.L. (1990) Transferrin-polycation conjugates as carriers for DNA uptake into cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 87(9), pp. 3410-3414. (PMID:2333290) (PMCID:PMC53910)

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We have developed a high-efficiency nucleic acid delivery system that uses receptor-mediated endocytosis to carry DNA macromolecules into cells. We accomplished this by conjugating the iron-transport protein transferrin to polycations that bind nucleic acids. Human transferrin, as well as the chicken homologue conalbumin, has been covalently linked to the small DNA-binding protein protamine or to polylysines of various sizes through a disulfide linkage. These modified transferrin molecules maintain their ability to bind their cognate receptor and to mediate efficient iron transport into the cell. The transferrin-polycation molecules form electrophoretically stable complexes with double-stranded DNA, single-stranded DNA, and modified RNA molecules independent of nucleic acid size (from short oligonucleotides to DNA of 21 kilobase pairs). When complexes of transferrin-polycation and a bacterial plasmid DNA containing the gene for Photinus pyralis luciferase are supplied to eukaryotic cells, high-level expression of the luciferase gene occurs, demonstrating transferrin receptor-mediated endocytosis and expression of the imported DNA. We refer to this delivery system as "transferrinfection."

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cotten, Professor Matthew
Authors: Wagner, E., Zenke, M., Cotten, M., Beug, H., and Birnstiel, M.L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Online):1091-6490

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