RNA-based, transient modulation of gene expression in human haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
ABSTRACT: Modulation of gene expression is a useful tool to study the biology of haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) and might also be instrumental to expand these cells for therapeutic approaches. Most of the studies so far have employed stable gene modification by viral vectors that are burdensome when translating protocols into clinical settings. Our study aimed at exploring new ways to transiently modify HSPC gene expression using non-integrating, RNA-based molecules. First, we tested different methods to deliver these molecules into HSPCs. The delivery of siRNAs with chemical transfection methods such as lipofection or cationic polymers did not lead to target knockdown, although we observed more than 90% fluorescent cells using a fluorochrome-coupled siRNA. Confocal microscopic analysis revealed that despite extensive washing, siRNA stuck to or in the cell surface, thereby mimicking a transfection event. In contrast, electroporation resulted in efficient, siRNA-mediated protein knockdown. For transient overexpression of proteins, we used optimised mRNA molecules with modified 5'- and 3'-UTRs. Electroporation of mRNA encoding GFP resulted in fast, efficient and persistent protein expression for at least seven days. Our data provide a broad-ranging comparison of transfection methods for hard-to-transfect cells and offer new opportunities for DNA-free, non-integrating gene modulation in HSPCs.
Project description:Laser based transfection methods have proven to be an efficient and gentle alternative to established molecule delivery methods like lipofection or electroporation. Among the laser based methods, gold nanoparticle mediated laser transfection bears the major advantage of high throughput and easy usability. This approach uses plasmon resonances on gold nanoparticles unspecifically attached to the cell membrane to evoke transient and spatially defined cell membrane permeabilization. In this study, we explore the parameter regime for gold nanoparticle mediated laser transfection for the delivery of molecules into cell lines and prove its suitability for siRNA mediated gene knock down. The developed setup allows easy usage and safe laser operation in a normal lab environment. We applied a 532 nm Nd:YAG microchip laser emitting 850 ps pulses at a repetition rate of 20.25 kHz. Scanning velocities of the laser spot over the sample of up to 200 mm/s were tested without a decline in perforation efficiency. This velocity leads to a process speed of ?8 s per well of a 96 well plate. The optimal particle density was determined to be ?6 particles per cell using environmental scanning electron microscopy. Applying the optimized parameters transfection efficiencies of 88% were achieved in canine pleomorphic adenoma ZMTH3 cells using a fluorescent labeled siRNA while maintaining a high cell viability of >90%. Gene knock down of d2-EGFP was demonstrated and validated by fluorescence repression and western blot analysis. On basis of our findings and established mathematical models we suppose a mixed transfection mechanism consisting of thermal and multiphoton near field effects. Our findings emphasize that gold nanoparticle mediated laser transfection provides an excellent tool for molecular delivery for both, high throughput purposes and the transfection of sensitive cells types.
Project description:This study reports the potential of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) as a versatile tool for delivering oligonucleotides into mammalian cells. Compared to lipofection and electroporation methods, plasma transfection showed a better uptake efficiency and less cell death in the transfection of oligonucleotides. We demonstrated that the level of extracellular aqueous reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by gas plasma is correlated with the uptake efficiency and that this is achieved through an increase of intracellular ROS levels and the resulting increase in cell membrane permeability. This finding was supported by the use of ROS scavengers, which reduced CAP-based uptake efficiency. In addition, we found that cold atmospheric plasma could transfer oligonucleotides such as siRNA and miRNA into cells even in 3D cultures, thus suggesting the potential for unique applications of CAP beyond those provided by standard transfection techniques. Together, our results suggest that cold plasma might provide an efficient technique for the delivery of siRNA and miRNA in 2D and 3D culture models.
Project description:Some barriers to DNA lipofection are well characterized; however, there is as yet no method of finding unknown pathways that impact the process. A druggable genome small-interfering RNA (siRNA) screen against 5,520 genes was tested for its effect on lipofection of human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). We found 130 gene targets which, when silenced by pooled siRNAs (three siRNAs per gene), resulted in enhanced luminescence after lipofection (86 gene targets showed reduced expression). In confirmation tests with single siRNAs, 18 of the 130 hits showed enhanced lipofection with two or more individual siRNAs in the absence of cytotoxicity. Of these confirmed gene targets, we identified five leading candidates, two of which are isoforms of the regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). The best candidate siRNA targeted the PPP2R2C gene and produced a 65% increase in luminescence from lipofection, with a quantitative PCR-validated knockdown of approximately 76%. Flow cytometric analysis confirmed that the silencing of the PPP2R2C gene resulted in an improvement of 10% in transfection efficiency, thereby demonstrating an increase in the number of transfected cells. These results show that an RNA interference (RNAi) high-throughput screen (HTS) can be applied to nonviral gene transfer. We have also demonstrated that siRNAs can be co-delivered with lipofected DNA to increase the transfection efficiency in vitro.
Project description:The manipulation of the RNA interference pathway using small interfering RNA (siRNA) has become the most frequently used gene silencing method. However, siRNA delivery into primary cells, especially primary macrophages, is often considered challenging. Here we report the investigation of the suitability of two methodologies: transient transfection and electroporation, to deliver siRNA targeted against the putative immunomodulatory gene Mediterranean fever (MEFV) into primary bovine monocyte-derived macrophages (bMDM). Eleven commercial transfection reagents were investigated with variable results with respect to siRNA uptake, target gene knock-down, cell toxicity and type I interferon (IFN) response induction. Three transfection reagents: Lipofectamine 2000, Lipofectamine RNAiMAX and DharmaFECT 3, were found to consistently give the best results. However, all the transfection reagents tested induced an IFN response in the absence of siRNA, which could be minimized by reducing the transfection reagent incubation period. In addition, optimized siRNA delivery into bMDM by electroporation achieved comparable levels of target gene knock-down as transient transfection, without a detectable IFN response, but with higher levels of cell toxicity. The optimized transient transfection and electroporation methodologies may provide a starting point for optimizing siRNA delivery into macrophages derived from other species or other cells considered difficult to investigate with siRNA.
Project description:Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) are important target cells for gene therapy applications. Current genetic modifications of HSPCs rely on viral vectors in vivo or electroporation ex vivo. Here, we developed a nonviral system based on megakaryocytic microparticles (MPs) for targeted delivery of plasmid DNA (pDNA) and small RNAs to HSPCs. We have previously shown that megakaryocytic MPs, the most abundant MPs in blood circulation, target specifically and deliver cargo to HSPCs both in vitro and in vivo. With an optimized electroporation protocol, an average of 4200 plasmid copies per MP were loaded into MP, thus enabling effective delivery of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-encoding pDNA to HSPCs and HSPC nuclei, with up to 81% nuclei containing pDNA. Effective functional small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA) delivery were also demonstrated. As patient-specific or generic megakaryocytic MPs can be readily generated and stored frozen, our data suggest that this system has great potential for therapeutic applications targeting HSPCs.
Project description:Rationale: Delivery of nucleic acid molecules into skin remains a main obstacle for various types of gene therapy or vaccine applications. Here we propose a novel electroporation approach via combined use of a microneedle roller and a flexible interdigitated electroporation array (FIEA) for efficient delivery of DNA and siRNA into mouse skin. Methods: Using micromachining technology, closely spaced gold electrodes were made on a pliable parylene substrate to form a patch-like electroporation array, which enabled close surface contact between the skin and electrodes. Pre-penetration of the skin with a microneedle roller resulted in the formation of microchannels in the skin, which played a role as liquid electrodes in the skin and provided a uniform and deep electric field in the tissue when pulse stimulation was applied by FIEA. Results: Using this proposed method, gene (RFP) expression and siRNA transfection were successfully achieved in normal mice skin. Anti-SCD1 siRNA electroporated via this method mediated significant gene silencing in the skin. Moreover, electroporation assisted by the microneedle roller showed significant advantages over treatment with FIEA alone. This allowed nucleic acid transportation at low voltage, with ideal safety outcomes. Principal conclusions: Hence, the proposed electroporation approach in this study constitutes a novel way for delivering siRNA and DNA, and even other nucleic acid molecules, to mouse skin in vivo, potentially supporting clinical application in the treatment of skin diseases or intradermal/subcutaneous vaccination.
Project description:Recently, several attempts have been made to create a generation of transgenic chickens via chimeric intermediates produced by primordial germ cells (PGCs) transfer. This study aimed to compare the influences of different chicken PGCs isolated from circulating blood (bPGCs) or gonads (gPGCs), purification (ACK, Percoll or trypsin) and transfection methods (electroporation or lipofection) on the expression of transgenes in vitro and the migration of modified donor cells to the recipient gonads. The highest average frequency of pEGFP-N1 plasmid-transfected bPGCs (75.8%) was achieved with Percoll density gradient centrifugation and electroporation. After ammonium chloride-potassium (ACK) treatment and lipofection, in vitro transgene expression was only detected in 35.2% of bPGCs. Chimeric chickens were produced from these purified, transfected and cultured cells, and the transgene was detected in the gonads of 44 and 42% of the recipient embryos that had been injected with bPGCs and gPGCs, respectively. These data confirmed that the combination of PGC purification via Percoll centrifugation and electroporation was an effective method for producing transgenic chickens. Subsequently, we used this method with expression vectors for gene hIFN? 2a/hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) under the control of the ovalbumin promoter to generate G0 transgenic chickens. Consequently, we observed that 4.9% of the hens and 3.5% of the roosters carried the hIFN? 2a gene, whereas 16.7% of the hens and 2.4% of the roosters carried the HBsAg gene, thus undisputedly confirming the exceptional effectiveness of the applied methods.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding ribonucleic acids known to affect gene expression at the translational level and there is mounting evidence that miRNAs play a role in the function of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). To aid the functional analyses of miRNAs in an in-vitro model of TAMs known as M2 macrophages, a transfection method to introduce artificial miRNA constructs or miRNA molecules into primary human monocytes is needed. Unlike differentiated macrophages or dendritic cells, undifferentiated primary human monocytes have been known to show resistance to lentiviral transduction. To circumvent this challenge, other techniques such as electroporation and chemical transfection have been used in other applications to deliver small gene constructs into human monocytes. To date, no studies have compared these two methods objectively to evaluate their suitability in the miRNA functional analysis of M2 macrophages. Of the methods tested, the electroporation of miRNA-construct containing plasmids and the chemical transfection of miRNA precursor molecules are the most efficient approaches. The use of a silencer siRNA labeling kit (Ambion) to conjugate Cy 3 fluorescence dyes to the precursor molecules allowed the isolation of successfully transfected cells with fluorescence-activated cell sorting. The chemical transfection of these dye-conjugated miRNA precursors yield an efficiency of 37.5 ± 0.6% and a cell viability of 74 ± 1%. RNA purified from the isolated cells demonstrated good quality, and was fit for subsequent mRNA expression qPCR analysis. While electroporation of plasmids containing miRNA constructs yield transfection efficiencies comparable to chemical transfection of miRNA precursors, these electroporated primary monocytes seemed to have lost their potential for differentiation. Among the most common methods of transfection, the chemical transfection of dye-conjugated miRNA precursors was determined to be the best-suited approach for the functional analysis of M2 macrophages.
Project description:Introduction of exogenous genetic material into primary stem cells is essential for studying biological function and for clinical applications. Traditional delivery methods for nucleic acids, such as electroporation, have advanced the field, but have negative effects on stem cell function and viability. We introduce nanostraw-assisted transfection as an alternative method for RNA delivery to human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Nanostraws are hollow alumina nanotubes that can be used to deliver biomolecules to living cells. We use nanostraws to target human primary HSPCs and show efficient delivery of mRNA, short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), DNA oligonucleotides, and dextrans of sizes ranging from 6 kDa to 2,000 kDa. Nanostraw-treated cells were fully functional and viable, with no impairment in their proliferative or colony-forming capacity, and showed similar long-term engraftment potential in vivo as untreated cells. Additionally, we found that gene expression of the cells was not perturbed by nanostraw treatment, while conventional electroporation changed the expression of more than 2,000 genes. Our results show that nanostraw-mediated transfection is a gentle alternative to established gene delivery methods, and uniquely suited for nonperturbative treatment of sensitive primary stem cells.
Project description:Techniques for investigation of exogenous small interfering RNA (siRNA) after penetration of the cell are of substantial interest to the development of efficient transfection methods as well as to potential medical formulations of siRNA. A FRET-based visualization method including the commonplace dye labels fluorescein and tetramethylrhodamin (TMR) on opposing strands of siRNA was found compatible with RNA interference (RNAi). Investigation of spectral properties of three labelled siRNAs with differential FRET efficiencies in the cuvette, including pH dependence and FRET efficiency in lipophilic environments, identified the ratio of red and green fluorescence (R/G-ratio) as a sensitive parameter, which reliably identifies samples containing >90% un-degraded siRNA. Spectral imaging of siRNAs microinjected into cells showed emission spectra indistinguishable from those measured in the cuvette. These were used to establish a calibration curve for assessing the degradation state of siRNA in volume elements inside cells. An algorithm, applied to fluorescence images recorded in standard green and red fluorescence channels, produces R/G-ratio images of high spatial resolution, identifying volume elements in the cell with high populations of intact siRNA with high fidelity. To demonstrate the usefulness of this technique, the movement of intact siRNA molecules are observed after introduction into the cytosol by microinjection, standard transfection and lipofection with liposomes.