The cell-penetrating YopM protein-functionalized quantum dot-plasmid DNA conjugate as a novel gene delivery vector

Ugurlu O., Barlas F. B. , EVRAN S., TİMUR S.

PLASMID, cilt.110, 2020 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier identifier


Non-viral gene delivery systems have great potential for safe and efficient gene therapy, while inefficient cellular and nuclear uptake remain as the major hurdles. Novel approaches are needed to enhance the transfection efficiency of non-viral vectors. In accordance with this need, the objective of this study was to construct a nonviral vector that could achieve gene delivery without using additional lipid-based transfection agent. We aimed to impart self-delivery property to a non-viral vector by using the cell and nucleus penetrating properties of YopM proteins from the three Yersinia spp. (Y. pestis, Y. enterocolotica and Y. pseudotuberculosis). Plasmid DNA (pDNA) encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) was labeled with quantum dots (QDs) via peptide-nucleic acid (PNA) recognition site. Recombinant YopM protein was then attached to the conjugate via a second PNA recognition site. The YopM- QDs- pDNA conjugate was transfected into HeLa cells without using additional transfection reagent. All three conjugates produced GFP fluorescence, indicating that the plasmid was successfully delivered to the nucleus. As control, naked pDNA was transfected into the cells by using a commercial transfection reagent. The Y. pseudotuberculosis YopM-functionalized conjugate achieved the highest GFP expression, compared to other two YopM proteins and the transfection reagent. To the best of our knowledge, YopM protein was used for the first time in a non-viral gene delivery vector.