Author(s): Box M, Parks DA, Knight A, Hale C, Fishman PS,
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Abstract One goal of gene therapy is the targeted delivery of therapeutic genes to defined tissues. One attractive target is the central nervous system as there are several neuronal degenerative diseases which may be amenable to gene therapy. At present there is a lack of delivery systems that are able to target genes specifically to neuronal cells. Multi-domain proteins were designed and constructed to facilitate the delivery of exogenous genes to neuronal cells. Neuronal targeting activity of the proteins was achieved by inclusion of the HC fragment of tetanus toxin (TeNT), a protein with well-characterised tropism for the central nervous system. The yeast Gal4 DNA-binding domain enabled specific binding of DNA while the translocation domain from diphtheria toxin (DT) was included to facilitate crossing of the endosomal vesicle. One multi-domain protein, containing all three of these domains, was found to transfect up to 8\% of neuroblastoma N18-RE105 cells with marker genes. Monitoring the transfection by confocal microscopy indicated that this protein-DNA transfection complex is to some extent localised at the cell surface, suggesting that further improvements to translocating this membrane barrier may yield higher transfection levels. The demonstration that this multi-domain protein can target genes specifically to neuronal cells is a first step in the development of novel vectors for the delivery of genes with therapeutic potential to diseased neuronal tissues.
This article was published in J Drug Target
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy