Gene delivery by cationic lipid vectors: overcoming cellular barriers

Inge S Zuhorn, Jan B F N Engberts, Dirk Hoekstra

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

204 Citaten (Scopus)


Non-viral vectors such as cationic lipids are capable of delivering nucleic acids, including genes, siRNA or antisense RNA into cells, thus potentially resulting in their functional expression. These vectors are considered as an attractive alternative for virus-based delivery systems, which may suffer from immunological and mutational hazards. However, the efficiency of cationic-mediated gene delivery, although often sufficient for cell biological purposes, runs seriously short from a therapeutics point of view, as realizing this objective requires a higher level of transfection than attained thus far. To develop strategies for improvement, there is not so much a need for novel delivery systems. Rather, better insight is needed into the mechanism of delivery, including lipoplex-cell surface interaction, route of internalization and concomitant escape of DNA/RNA into the cytosol, and transport into the nucleus. Current work indicates that a major obstacle involves the relative inefficient destabilization of membrane-bounded compartments in which lipoplexes reside after their internalization by the cell. Such an activity requires the capacity of lipoplexes of undergoing polymorphic transitions such as a membrane destabilizing hexagonal phase, while cellular components may aid in this process. A consequence of the latter notion is that for development of a novel generation of delivery devices, entry pathways have to be triggered by specific targeting to select delivery into intracellular compartments which are most susceptible to lipoplex-induced destabilization, thereby allowing the most efficient release of DNA, a minimal requirement for optimizing non-viral vector-mediated transfection.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)349-362
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftEuropean biophysics journal with biophysics letters
Nummer van het tijdschrift4-5
StatusPublished - apr-2007

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