Performance of High Quality Minicircle DNA for In Vitro and In Vivo Gene Transfer

Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, Robert-Rössle-Str. 10, 13125, Berlin, Germany, .
Molecular Biotechnology (Impact Factor: 2.28). 04/2012; 53(1). DOI: 10.1007/s12033-012-9535-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Plasmid DNA is frequently used particularly for nonviral gene therapy. Conventional plasmid DNA contains bacterial backbone and resistance gene sequences, as well as immunogenic CpG motifs. These components are not required for transgene expression. They represent a potential risk for safe clinical application and reduce gene transfer rates as well as transgene expression. To overcome these drawbacks, the minicircle technology is removing such sequences, to improve performance and also to reduce DNA size. Here, we show the effective production of luciferase, GFP, or lacZ-carrying minicircle DNA with high yield and reproducible high quality. They are used for lipofection or electroporation gene transfer into human melanoma and colon carcinoma cell lines. Comparison of respective parental plasmid and minicircle-mediated luciferase gene transfer shows improved luciferase expression by minicircle in all cell lines. This is not associated with increase in intracellular minicircle copy numbers after lipofection or electroporation. The minicircles rather mediate enhanced transgene mRNA transcription compared to their parental plasmids. In addition, FACS analysis revealed increase in counts of GFP positive cells after minicircle gene transfer, indicating higher gene transfer rates. Furthermore, minicircle showed also improved performance in vivo after jet-injection gene transfer. Therefore, availability of minicircles with reproducible high quality and sufficient amount makes them an applicable and effective alternative to conventional plasmid gene vectors.

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