Engineering surfaces for substrate-mediated gene delivery using recombinant proteins

Jennifer C. Rea, Romie F. Gibly, Nicolynn E. Davis, Annelise E. Barron, Lonnie D. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Immobilized fibronectin and other natural proteins have been utilized to enhance substrate-mediated gene delivery, with apparent contributions from the intrinsic bioactivity and also physical properties of the immobilized proteins. In this report, we investigated the use of recombinant proteins, compared to the full-length fibronectin protein, as surface coatings for gene delivery to investigate the mechanisms by which fibronectin enhances gene transfer. The recombinant fibronectin fragment FNIII7-10 (FNIII) contains the α5β1 binding domain of fibronectin and supports cell adhesion, whereas the recombinant protein polymer PP-12 is also negatively charged and has a molecular weight similar to FNIII, but lacks cell binding domains. Transfection was compared on surfaces modified with FNIII, full-length fibronectin, or PP-12. The full-length fibronectin provided the greatest extent of transgene expression relative to FNIII or PP-12, which was consistent with the amount of DNA that associated with cells. FNIII had 4.2-fold or 4.7-fold lower expression levels relative to fibronectin for polyplexes and lipoplexes, respectively. PP-12 produced expression levels that were 317-fold and 12.0-fold less than fibronectin for polyplexes and lipoplexes, respectively. Although expression was greater on FNIII relative to PP-12, the levels of DNA associated per cell with FNIII were similar to or less than those with PP-12, suggesting that the bioactive sequences may contribute to an enhanced intracellular trafficking. For lipoplexes delivered on FNIII, the efficiency of intracellular trafficking and levels of caveolar DNA were greater than that observed with either the full-length fibronectin or PP-12. For polyplexes, fibronectin fragment resulted in greater intracellular trafficking efficiency compared to PP-12 protein polymer. Recombinant proteins can be employed in place of full-length extracellular matrix proteins for substrate-mediated gene delivery, and bioactive sequences can influence one or more steps in the gene delivery process to maximize transfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2779-2786
Number of pages8
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 12 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Biomaterials


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