Cationic liposome mediated transfection with/without a targeting component.
The transfer and expression of genes in cells is an important technique for basic research and gene therapy of human disease. A model for gene therapy has been investigated making use of a transfection complex consisting of three components, the DNA i.e. the gene to be transferred and expressed; a gene delivery vehicle viz. a cationic liposome and a cell specific targeting ligand, asialoorosomucoid (AOM). Cationic liposomes are positively charged liposomes that have been prepared from synthetic lipids and have been shown to complex or bind to DNA via electrostatic attraction. They have shown potential as an efficient non-viral gene delivery vehicle in human gene therapy. In this investigation, a novel cationic liposome consisting of 3B [N -(N',N'-dimethylaminopropane)carbamoyl] cholesterol (Chol-T), dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (DOPE) and biotinylcholesteryl formylhydrazide was prepared and assessed as a mediator of DNA delivery in a mammalian cell culture system viz. the HepG2 cell line. The cationic liposome was synthesised and characterised by electron microscopy. Foreign DNA may be specifically delivered to target cells by a carrier system which makes use of the recognition of the asialoglycoprotein AOM by cognate receptors on the HepG2 cell plasma membrane. The positively charged AOM was biotinylated and due to this biotinylation, binds streptavidin which contains specific binding sites for biotin. The cationic liposome itself contains biotin residues in its bi-Iayer which in turn binds streptavidin resulting in a ternary complex. Further, due to the DNA binding capability of the cationic liposome, a transfection complex is produced consisting of the three components. The experiments were based on the following concepts: (i) Hepatocytes possess a unique receptor that binds to and internalises galactose-terminal asialoglycoproteins by receptor mediated endocytosis. (ii) Due to electrostatic attraction, DNA binds to cationic liposomes forming soluble complexes. (iii) Through the biotin-streptavidin reaction, the biotinylated AOM is attached to the cationic liposome containing biotin forming complexes enabling targeted delivery of the DNA. (iv) DNA containing the pGL3 gene for the luciferase enzyme was used and following transfection experiments, the luciferase assay was performed to ensure successful transfection. The complexes were tested on the hepatocellular carcinoma cell line, HepG2, which possess the asialoglycoprotein receptor. Transfection studies were conducted using a transient expression system, the luciferase assay system. Some degree of success in the transfection of HepG2 cells was observed. Results obtained in this study suggest that transfection using our targeted transfection complex consisting of cationic liposomes and cell specific targeting ligands does in fact transfect cells by receptor mediation.