Recognition and suppression of transfected plasmids by protein ZNF511-PRAP1, a potential molecular barrier to transgene expression.
ABSTRACT: Nonviral vectors present considerable advantages over viral counterparts in gene transfer. However, the poor expression efficiency of the transfected genes poses a challenge for their use in gene therapy, primarily due to the inability of these vectors to overcome various barriers, including the biological barriers. Here, we report that ZNF511-PRAP1 may be involved in the recognition and inactivation of transfected plasmids. ZNF511-PRAP1 is induced by transfection of plasmid DNA and suppresses the transcription of transfected plasmids. It binds directly to the p21 promoter in transfected plasmids but not the endogenous counterpart. Similarly, ZNF511-PRAP1 suppresses the expression of the green fluorescent protein reporter gene on transiently transfected plasmids but not an integrated red fluorescence reporter gene with the same cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. Therefore, ZNF511-PRAP1 is able to differentiate between exogenous/nonintegrated and endogenous/integrated DNA. The suppression by ZNF511-PRAP1 is independent of DNA methylation and can be abolished by trichostatin A (TSA) treatment and knockdown of HDAC2 and/or ZNF511-PRAP1. Furthermore, ZNF511-PRAP1 interacts directly with HDAC2. Our results revealed that transfected plasmids are recognized by ZNF511-PRAP1 and suppressed by a repressor complex comprising ZNF511-PRAP1 and HDAC2 and suggest that ZNF511-PRAP1 could play a role as a potential molecular barrier in nonviral transgene expression.
Project description:Cross-talk between glucocorticoid receptors and histone deacetylases (HDACs) under steroid-insensitive conditions has not been explored.To evaluate expression and interaction of HDACs with glucocorticoid receptor isoforms in bronchoalveolar lavage and peripheral blood mononuclear cells from steroid-resistant versus steroid-sensitive patients with asthma.Expression of HDACs 1 through 11 was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction in primary cells and in the DO11.10 cell line, designed to overexpress glucocorticoid receptor ?. Glucocorticoid receptor ? expression was inhibited in bronchoalveolar lavage cells by small interfering RNA. Human HDAC2 promoter fragments were cloned into a luciferase reporter vector, and transiently transfected with glucocorticoid receptor ?- and ?-encoding plasmids into the cells. Luciferase activity was then assayed in response to glucocorticoids.Levels of HDAC2 mRNA, but not other histone deacetylases, were significantly decreased in bronchoalveolar lavage cells but not in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from steroid-resistant patients with asthma. Overexpression of glucocorticoid receptor ? in DO11.10 cells selectively reduced HDAC2 mRNA and protein levels. Silencing of glucocorticoid receptor ? in bronchoalveolar lavage cells from patients with asthma significantly increased HDAC2 mRNA. Luciferase activity assays with HDAC2 promoter reporter constructs identified two glucocorticoid-inducible regions in the HDAC2 promoter. Promoter activity was increased more than fourfold in dexamethasone-treated cells cotransfected with glucocorticoid receptor ?. Cotransfection of glucocorticoid receptor ? abolished this effect in a dose-dependent manner.Glucocorticoid receptor ? controls expression of histone deacetylase 2 by inhibiting glucocorticoid response elements in its promoter. This highlights a novel mechanism by which glucocorticoid receptor ? promotes steroid insensitivity (Li et al.: J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009;123:S146; and Li et al.: J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010;125:AB104).
Project description:The delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids to neurons has the potential to treat neurological disease and spinal cord injury. While select viral vectors have shown promise as gene carriers to neurons, their potential as therapeutic agents is limited by their toxicity and immunogenicity, their broad tropism, and the cost of large-scale formulation. Nonviral vectors are an attractive alternative in that they offer improved safety profiles compared to viruses, are less expensive to produce, and can be targeted to specific neuronal subpopulations. However, most nonviral vectors suffer from significantly lower transfection efficiencies than neurotropic viruses, severely limiting their utility in neuron-targeted delivery applications. To realize the potential of nonviral delivery technology in neurons, vectors must be designed to overcome a series of extra- and intracellular barriers. In this article, we describe the challenges preventing successful nonviral delivery of nucleic acids to neurons and review strategies aimed at overcoming these challenges.
Project description:Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are one of the most widely researched stem cell types with broad applications from basic research to therapeutics, the majority of which require introduction of exogenous DNA. However, safety and scalability issues hinder viral delivery, while poor efficiency hinders nonviral gene delivery, particularly to hMSCs. Here, we present the use of a pharmacologic agent (glucocorticoid) to overcome barriers to hMSC DNA transfer to enhance transfection using three common nonviral vectors. Glucocorticoid priming significantly enhances transfection in hMSCs, demonstrated by a 3-fold increase in efficiency, 4-15-fold increase in transgene expression, and prolonged transgene expression when compared to transfection without glucocorticoids. These effects are dependent on glucocorticoid receptor binding and caused in part by maintenance of normal metabolic function and increased cellular (5-fold) and nuclear (6-10-fold) DNA uptake over hMSCs transfected without glucocorticoids. Results were consistent across five human donors and in cells up to passage five. Glucocorticoid cell priming is a simple and effective technique to significantly enhance nonviral transfection of hMSCs that should enhance their clinical use, accelerate new research, and decrease reliance on early passage cells.
Project description:Viral vectors are engineered virus variants able to deliver nonviral genetic information into cells, usually by the same routes as the parental viruses. For several virus families, replication-competent vectors carrying reporter genes have become invaluable tools for easy and quantitative monitoring of replication and infection, and thus also for identifying antivirals and virus susceptible cells. For hepatitis B virus (HBV), a small enveloped DNA virus causing B-type hepatitis, such vectors are not available because insertions into its tiny 3.2 kb genome almost inevitably affect essential replication elements. HBV replicates by reverse transcription of the pregenomic (pg) RNA which is also required as bicistronic mRNA for the capsid (core) protein and the reverse transcriptase (Pol); their open reading frames (ORFs) overlap by some 150 basepairs. Translation of the downstream Pol ORF does not involve a conventional internal ribosome entry site (IRES). We reasoned that duplicating the overlap region and providing artificial IRES control for translation of both Pol and an in-between inserted transgene might yield a functional tricistronic pgRNA, without interfering with envelope protein expression. As IRESs we used a 22 nucleotide element termed Rbm3 IRES to minimize genome size increase. Model plasmids confirmed its activity even in tricistronic arrangements. Analogous plasmids for complete HBV genomes carrying 399 bp and 720 bp transgenes for blasticidin resistance (BsdR) and humanized Renilla green fluorescent protein (hrGFP) produced core and envelope proteins like wild-type HBV; while the hrGFP vector replicated poorly, the BsdR vector generated around 40% as much replicative DNA as wild-type HBV. Both vectors, however, formed enveloped virions which were infectious for HBV-susceptible HepaRG cells. Because numerous reporter and effector genes with sizes of around 500 bp or less are available, the new HBV vectors should become highly useful tools to better understand, and combat, this important pathogen.
Project description:Nonviral systems for nucleic acid delivery offer a host of potential advantages compared with viruses, including reduced toxicity and immunogenicity, increased ease of production and less stringent vector size limitations, but remain far less efficient than their viral counterparts. In this article we review recent advances in the delivery of nucleic acids using polymeric and inorganic vectors. We discuss the wide range of materials being designed and evaluated for these purposes while considering the physical requirements and barriers to entry that these agents face and reviewing recent novel approaches towards improving delivery with respect to each of these barriers. Furthermore, we provide a brief overview of past and ongoing nonviral gene therapy clinical trials. We conclude with a discussion of multifunctional nucleic acid carriers and future directions.
Project description:Nonviral gene delivery methods are advantageous over viral vectors in terms of safety, cost, and flexibility in design and application, but suffer from lower gene transfer efficiency. In addition to modifications to nucleic acid design and nonviral carriers, new tools are sought to enhance transfection. Priming is the pharmacological modulation of transfection efficiency and transgene expression, and has demonstrated transfection increase in several compounds, for example, chloroquine and glucocorticoids. To develop a library of transfection priming compounds, a high-throughput screen was performed of the NIH Clinical Collection (NCC) to identify clinical compounds that prime polyethylenimine (PEI) transfection. HEK293T cells were treated with priming compounds, then transfected with enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-encoding plasmid by PEI. After 48-hr culture, primed and transfected cells were assayed for transfection, cell proliferation, and cell viability by fluorescence measurement of EGFP reporter, Hoechst 33342 nuclei stain, and resazurin metabolic assay. From the microscope image analysis and microplate measurements, transfection fold-changes were determined, and compounds resulting in statistically significant transfection fold-change were identified. NCC compounds were clustered using PubChem fingerprint similarity by Tanimoto coefficients in ChemmineTools. Fold-changes for each compound were linked to drug clusters, from which drug classes that prime transfection were identified. Among the identified drugs classes that primed transfection increases were antioxidants, GABAA receptor modulators, and glucocorticoids. Resveratrol and piceid, stilbenoid antioxidants found in grapes, and zolpidem, a GABAA modulator, increased transfection nearly three-fold. Literature indicate interaction of the identified transfection priming drug clusters with mitochondria, which may modulate mitochondrial dysfunction known to be associated with PEI transfection.
Project description:We established a rapid, specific technique for detecting alphaviruses using a replicon-defective reporter gene assay derived from the Sindbis virus XJ-160. The pVaXJ expression vector containing the XJ-160 genome was engineered to form the expression vectors pVaXJ-EGFP expressing enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) or pVaXJ-GLuc expressing Gaussia luciferase (GLuc). The replicon-defective reporter plasmids pVaXJ-EGFP?nsp4 and pVaXJ-GLuc?nsp4 were constructed by deleting 1139 bp in the non-structural protein 4 (nsP4) gene. The deletion in the nsP4 gene prevented the defective replicons from replicating and expressing reporter genes in transfected BHK-21 cells. However, when these transfected cells were infected with an alphavirus, the non-structural proteins expressed by the alphavirus could act on the defective replicons in trans and induce the expression of the reporter genes. The replicon-defective plasmids were used to visualize the presence of alphavirus qualitatively or detect it quantitatively. Specificity tests showed that this assay could detect a variety of alphaviruses from tissue cultures, while other RNA viruses, such as Japanese encephalitis virus and Tahyna virus, gave negative results with this system. Sensitivity tests showed that the limit of detection (LOD) of this replicon-defective assay is between 1 and 10 PFU for Sindbis viruses. These results indicate that, with the help of the replicon-defective alphavirus detection technique, we can specifically, sensitively, and rapidly detect alphaviruses in tissue cultures. The detection technique constructed here may be well suited for use in clinical examination and epidemiological surveillance, as well as for rapid screening of potential viral biological warfare agents.
Project description:Spinal cord injury commonly leads to permanent motor and sensory deficits due to the limited regenerative capacity of the adult central nervous system (CNS). Nucleic acid-based therapy is a promising strategy to deliver bioactive molecules capable of promoting axonal regeneration. Branched polyethylenimine (bPEI: 25kDa) is one of the most widely studied nonviral vectors, but its clinical application has been limited due to its cytotoxicity and low transfection efficiency in the presence of serum proteins. In this study, we synthesized cationic amphiphilic copolymers, poly (lactide-co-glycolide)-graft-polyethylenimine (PgP), by grafting low molecular weight PLGA (4kDa) to bPEI (25kDa) at approximately a 3:1 ratio as an efficient nonviral vector. We show that PgP micelle is capable of efficiently transfecting plasmid DNA (pDNA) and siRNA in the presence of 10% serum in neuroglioma (C6) cells, neuroblastoma (B35) cells, and primary E8 chick forebrain neurons (CFN) with pDNA transfection efficiencies of 58.8%, 75.1%, and 8.1%, respectively. We also show that PgP provides high-level transgene expression in the rat spinal cord in vivo that is substantially greater than that attained with bPEI. The combination of improved transfection and reduced cytotoxicity in vitro in the presence of serum and in vivo transfection of neural cells relative to conventional bPEI suggests that PgP may be a promising nonviral vector for therapeutic nucleic acid delivery for neural regeneration.Gene therapy is a promising strategy to overcome barriers to axonal regeneration in the injured central nervous system. Branched polyethylenimine (bPEI: 25kDa) is one of the most widely studied nonviral vectors, but its clinical application has been limited due to cytotoxicity and low transfection efficiency in the presence of serum proteins. Here, we report cationic amphiphilic copolymers, poly (lactide-co-glycolide)-graft-polyethylenimine (PgP) that are capable of efficiently transfecting reporter genes and siRNA both in the presence of 10% serum in vitro and in the rat spinal cord in vivo. The combination of improved transfection and reduced cytotoxicity in the presence of serum as well as transfection of neural cells in vivo suggests PgP may be a promising nucleic acid carrier for CNS gene delivery.
Project description:One of the barriers to successful nonviral gene delivery is the crowded cytoplasm, which plasmids need to actively traverse for gene expression. Relatively little is known about how this process occurs, but our lab and others have shown that the microtubule network and motors are required for plasmid movement to the nucleus. To further investigate how plasmids exploit normal physiological processes to transfect cells, we have taken a proteomics approach to identify the proteins that comprise the plasmid-trafficking complex. We have developed a live cell DNA-protein pull-down assay to isolate complexes at certain time points post-transfection (15 minutes to 4 hours) for analysis by mass spectrometry (MS). Plasmids containing promoter sequences bound hundreds of unique proteins as early as 15 minutes post-electroporation, while a plasmid lacking any eukaryotic sequences failed to bind many of the proteins. Specific proteins included microtubule-based motor proteins (e.g., kinesin and dynein), proteins involved in protein nuclear import (e.g., importin 1, 2, 4, and 7, Crm1, RAN, and several RAN-binding proteins), a number of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)- and mRNA-binding proteins, and transcription factors. The significance of several of the proteins involved in protein nuclear localization and plasmid trafficking was determined by monitoring movement of microinjected fluorescently labeled plasmids via live cell particle tracking in cells following protein knockdown by small-interfering RNA (siRNA) or through the use of specific inhibitors. While importin ?1 was required for plasmid trafficking and subsequent nuclear import, importin ?1 played no role in microtubule trafficking but was required for optimal plasmid nuclear import. Surprisingly, the nuclear export protein Crm1 also was found to complex with the transfected plasmids and was necessary for plasmid trafficking along microtubules and nuclear import. Our results show that various proteins involved in nuclear import and export influence intracellular trafficking of plasmids and subsequent nuclear accumulation.
Project description:The treatment of impaired wounds requires the use of biomaterials that can provide mechanical and biological queues to the surrounding environment to promote angiogenesis, granulation tissue formation, and wound closure. Porous hydrogels show promotion of angiogenesis, even in the absence of proangiogenic factors. It is hypothesized that the added delivery of nonviral DNA encoding for proangiogenic growth factors can further enhance this effect. Here, 100 and 60 ?m porous and nonporous (n-pore) hyaluronic acid-MMP hydrogels with encapsulated reporter (pGFPluc) or proangiogenic (pVEGF) plasmids are used to investigate scaffold-mediated gene delivery for local gene therapy in a diabetic wound healing mouse model. Porous hydrogels allow for significantly faster wound closure compared with n-pore hydrogels, which do not degrade and essentially provide a mechanical barrier to closure. Interestingly, the delivery of pDNA/PEI polyplexes positively promotes granulation tissue formation even when the DNA does not encode for an angiogenic protein. And although transfected cells are present throughout the granulation tissue surrounding, all hydrogels at 2 weeks, pVEGF delivery does not further enhance the angiogenic response. Despite this, the presence of transfected cells shows promise for the use of polyplex-loaded porous hydrogels for local gene delivery in the treatment of diabetic wounds.