Date(s) - 06/20/2014
Efficient plasmid DNA transfection of embryonic stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, neural cell lines and the majority of primary cell lines is a current challenge in gene therapy research. Magnetic nanoparticle-based DNA transfection is a gene vectoring technique that is promising because it is capable of outperforming most other non-viral transfection methods in terms of both transfection efficiency and cell viability. The nature of the DNA vector implemented depends on the target cell phenotype, where the particle surface chemistry and DNA binding/unbinding kinetics of the DNA carrier molecule play a critical role in the many steps required for successful gene transfection. Accordingly, neuromag, an iron oxide/polymer nanoparticle optimized for transfection of neural phenotypes, outperforms many other nanoparticles and lipid-based DNA carriers. Up to now, improvement to nanomagnetic transfection techniques have focused mostly on particle functionalization and transfection parameter optimization (cell confluence, growth media, serum starvation, magnet oscillation parameters, etc.). None of these parameters are capable of assisting the nuclear translocation of delivered plasmid DNA once the particle-DNA complex achieves endosomal escape and dissociates in the cell’s cytoplasm. In this study, incorporation of a DNA targeting sequence (DTS) feature in the transfecting plasmid DNA confers improved nuclear translocation, demonstrating significant improvement in nanomagnetic transfection efficiency in differentiated SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells. Other parameters, such as days in vitro, are also found to play a role and represent potential targets for further optimization.