Gene transfer optimization

Mar 04, 2014

Controlled gene transfer into different target cells by means of specific surface markers is significantly more efficient than gene transfer without this assistance. Gene therapies using lentiviral transfer of genetic information can thus be optimized. These findings were reported by scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München in the Biomaterials journal.

Lentiviruses, which belong to the family of retroviruses, are used as vectors to exchange genetic material in cells and can be used to replace a defective gene as defined by . Increasing the efficiency of such a treatment poses a major medical challenge: the virus should specifically track the target cells, but the number of virus used should be as low as possible.

A research team led by Dr. Ines Höfig and Dr. Natasa Anastasov from the Institute of Radiation Biology (ISB) at Helmholtz Zentrum München in cooperation with Sirion Biotech GmbH in Munich and the Fraunhofer Institute in Aachen has now developed an adjuvant which enhances the effect of the virus transduction. Thus the transfer into the target cells is optimized without additional toxicity.

The scientists equipped the viruses with additional surface molecules that facilitate the attachment of the viruses to their target cells. The surface molecules consist of a glycoprotein which is fused to an antibody fragment. This antibody fragment detects the surface receptors of specific target cells, such as EGFR+ or CD30+, and binds to these.

"Through this specific binding to the target cell we can enhance three fold the transduction rate (transfer of the viruses into the target cells)," said research group leader Anastasov. "Thus, the transduction efficiency is improved, and at the same time fewer transfer viruses are needed."

In further studies, analog to the established system, suitable antibody fragments shall be evaluated for specific surface markers of various , e.g. for bone marrow stem cells and . Gene therapy can thus be used as a treatment for specific genetic disorders (e.g. metachromatic leukodystrophy, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).

Explore further: Bacterial tenants in fungal quarters

More information: Höfig, I. et al. (2014), "Systematic improvement of lentivirus transduction protocols by antibody fragments fused to VSV-G as envelope glycoprotein." Biomaterials, doi: 10.1016/ j.biomaterials.2014.01.051

Related Stories

Researchers identify way to increase gene therapy success

Oct 30, 2013

Scientists in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital have found a way to overcome one of the biggest obstacles to using viruses to deliver therapeutic genes: how to keep the immune system from neutralizing ...

Recommended for you

Bacterial tenants in fungal quarters

4 hours ago

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have sequenced the genome of a bacterial symbiont hosted by a mycorrhizal fungus. Analysis of the symbiont's genetic endowment reveals previously unknown ...

First step towards global attack on potato blight

May 28, 2015

European researchers and companies concerned with the potato disease phytophthora will work more closely with parties in other parts of the world. The first move was made during the biennial meeting of the ...

Bacteria study could have agricultural impact

May 28, 2015

Wichita State University microbiology professor Mark Schneegurt and ornithology professor Chris Rogers have discovered that one of North America's most common migratory birds – the Dark-eyed Junco – carries ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.