Publications by authors named "Manish K Aneja"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Alternative oxidase encoded by sequence-optimized and chemically-modified RNA transfected into mammalian cells is catalytically active.

Gene Ther 2021 Mar 4. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, FI-33014 Tampere University, Tampere, Finland.

Plants and other organisms, but not insects or vertebrates, express the auxiliary respiratory enzyme alternative oxidase (AOX) that bypasses mitochondrial respiratory complexes III and/or IV when impaired. Persistent expression of AOX from Ciona intestinalis in mammalian models has previously been shown to be effective in alleviating some metabolic stresses produced by respiratory chain inhibition while exacerbating others. This implies that chronic AOX expression may modify or disrupt metabolic signaling processes necessary to orchestrate adaptive remodeling, suggesting that its potential therapeutic use may be confined to acute pathologies, where a single course of treatment would suffice. One possible route for administering AOX transiently is AOX-encoding nucleic acid constructs. Here we demonstrate that AOX-encoding chemically-modified RNA (cmRNA), sequence-optimized for expression in mammalian cells, was able to support AOX expression in immortalized mouse embryonic fibroblasts (iMEFs), human lung carcinoma cells (A549) and primary mouse pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). AOX protein was detectable as early as 3 h after transfection, had a half-life of ~4 days and was catalytically active, thus supporting respiration and protecting against respiratory inhibition. Our data demonstrate that AOX-encoding cmRNA optimized for use in mammalian cells represents a viable route to investigate and possibly treat mitochondrial respiratory disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41434-021-00235-zDOI Listing
March 2021

Delivery of mRNA Therapeutics for the Treatment of Hepatic Diseases.

Mol Ther 2019 04 22;27(4):794-802. Epub 2018 Dec 22.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, 80337 Munich, Germany; Ethris GmbH, RNA Biology, 82152 Planegg, Germany. Electronic address:

Promising improvements in the field of transcript therapeutics have clearly enhanced the potential of mRNA as a new pillar for protein replacement therapies. Synthetic mRNAs are engineered to replace mutated mRNAs and to be immunologically inconspicuous and highly stable while maximizing protein expression. Approaches to deliver mRNA into the cellular cytoplasm safely and efficiently have been further developed so that two mRNA-based approaches replacing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) have now made it into clinical trials. These studies bring mRNA therapeutics for protein replacement therapy closer to clinical realization. Herein, we provide an overview of preclinical and clinical developments of mRNA therapeutics for liver diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.12.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6453508PMC
April 2019

Segmented poly(A) tails significantly reduce recombination of plasmid DNA without affecting mRNA translation efficiency or half-life.

RNA 2019 04 15;25(4):507-518. Epub 2019 Jan 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich, 80337 Munich, Germany.

Extensive research in the past decade has brought mRNA closer to the clinical realization of its therapeutic potential. One common structural feature for all cellular messenger RNAs is a poly(A) tail, which can either be brought in cotranscriptionally via the DNA template (plasmid- or PCR-based) or added to the mRNA in a post-transcriptional enzymatic process. Plasmids containing poly(A) regions recombine in , resulting in extensive shortening of the poly(A) tail. Using a segmented poly(A) approach, we could significantly reduce recombination of plasmids in without any negative effect on mRNA half-life and protein expression. This effect was independent of the coding sequence. A segmented poly(A) tail is characterized in that it consists of at least two A-containing elements, each defined as a nucleotide sequence consisting of 40-60 adenosines, separated by a spacer element of different length. Furthermore, reducing the spacer length between the poly(A) segments resulted in higher translation efficiencies compared to homogeneous poly(A) tail and reduced recombination (depending upon the choice of spacer nucleotide). Our results demonstrate the superior potential of segmented poly(A) tails compared to the conventionally used homogeneous poly(A) tails with respect to recombination of the plasmids and the resulting mRNA performance (half-life and translational efficiency).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1261/rna.069286.118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6426288PMC
April 2019

An Improved, Chemically Modified RNA Encoding BMP-2 Enhances Osteogenesis In Vitro and In Vivo.

Tissue Eng Part A 2019 01 3;25(1-2):131-144. Epub 2018 Oct 3.

1 Department of Experimental Trauma Surgery, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Impact Statement: The use of chemically modified RNA (cmRNA) with increased stability using translation initiator of short untranslated regions (TISU) offers the prospect of finally allowing us to unlock the potent osteogenic properties of BMP-2 in a clinically expedient manner. As noted, delivery of recombinant BMP-2 protein has had modest clinical efficacy, whereas gene delivery is effective but very difficult to translate into human clinical use. This study shows the great potential of cmRNA encoding BMP-2 with TISU in a long-bone critical-sized rat model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEA.2018.0112DOI Listing
January 2019

Exploring Cytotoxic mRNAs as a Novel Class of Anti-cancer Biotherapeutics.

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev 2018 Mar 24;8:141-151. Epub 2017 Dec 24.

Ethris GmbH, Planegg 82152, Germany.

New treatments to overcome the obstacles of conventional anti-cancer therapy are a permanent subject of investigation. One promising approach is the application of toxins linked to cell-specific ligands, so-called immunotoxins. Another attractive option is the employment of toxin-encoding plasmids. However, immunotoxins cause hepatoxicity, and DNA therapeutics, among other disadvantages, bear the risk of insertional mutagenesis. As an alternative, this study examined chemically modified mRNAs coding for diphtheria toxin, subtilase cytotoxin, and abrin-a for their ability to reduce cancer cell growth both and . The plant toxin abrin-a was the most promising candidate among the three tested toxins and was further investigated. Its expression was demonstrated by western blot. Experiments with firefly luciferase in reticulocyte lysates and co-transfection experiments with EGFP demonstrated the capability of abrin-a to inhibit protein synthesis. Its cytotoxic effect was quantified employing viability assays and propidium iodide staining. By studying caspase-3/7 activation, Annexin V-binding, and chromatin condensation with Hoechst33258 staining, apoptotic cell death could be confirmed. In mice, repeated intratumoral injections of complexed abrin-a mRNA resulted in a significant reduction (89%) of KB tumor size compared to a non-translatable control mRNA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.omtm.2017.12.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5908148PMC
March 2018

Chemically Modified Messenger RNA: Modified RNA Application for Treatment of Achilles Tendon Defects.

Tissue Eng Part A 2019 01 24;25(1-2):113-120. Epub 2018 May 24.

1 Department of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

Different regenerative medicine approaches for tendon healing exist. Recently, especially gene therapy gained popularity. However, potential mutagenic and immunologic effects might prevent its translation to clinical research. Chemically modified mRNA (cmRNA) might bypass these limitations of gene therapy. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the early healing properties of Achilles tendon defects in rats treated with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) cmRNA. Forty male Lewis rats were used for the study and randomly assigned to two study groups: (1) treatment with cmRNA coding for bFGF and (2) noncoding cmRNA control. Protein expression was measured using in vivo bioluminescence imaging at 24, 48, and 72 h, as well as 14 days. Animals were euthanized 2 weeks following surgery. Biomechanical, histological, and immunohistological analyses were performed with the significance level set at p < 0.05. Protein expression was evident for 3 days. At 14 days, bioluminescence imaging revealed only little protein expression. Biomechanically, tendons treated with bFGF cmRNA showed a construct stiffness closer to the healthy contralateral side when compared with the control group (p = 0.034), without any significant differences in terms of load to failure. Hematoxylin and eosin staining detected no side effects of the treatment, as signs of inflammation, or necrosis. Furthermore, it revealed the shape of the nuclei to be more oval in the bFGF group in the tendon midsubstance (p = 0.043) with a reduced cell count (p = 0.035). Immunohistological staining for type I, II, III, and IV collagen did not differ significantly between the two groups. In conclusion, this pilot study demonstrates the feasibility of a novel messenger RNA (mRNA)-based therapy for Achilles tendon defects using chemically modified mRNA coding for bFGF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEA.2017.0443DOI Listing
January 2019

Maximizing the Translational Yield of mRNA Therapeutics by Minimizing 5'-UTRs.

Tissue Eng Part A 2019 01 17;25(1-2):69-79. Epub 2018 Nov 17.

1 Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilian-University of Munich, Munich, Germany.

The 5'-untranslated region (5'-UTR) of mRNA contains structural elements, which are recognized by cell-specific RNA-binding proteins, thereby affecting the translation of the molecule. The activation of an innate immune response upon transfection of mRNA into cells is reduced when the mRNA comprises chemically modified nucleotides, putatively by altering the secondary structure of the molecule. Such alteration in the 5'-UTR in turn may affect the functionality of mRNA. In this study, we report on the impact of seven synthetic minimalistic 5'-UTR sequences on the translation of luciferase-encoding unmodified and different chemically modified mRNAs upon transfection in cell culture and in vivo. One minimalistic 5'-UTR, consisting of 14 nucleotides combining the T7 promoter with a Kozak consensus sequence, yielded similar or even higher expression than a 37 nucleotides human alpha-globin 5'-UTR containing mRNA in HepG2 and A549 cells. Furthermore, also the kind of modified nucleotides used in in vitro transcription, affected mRNA translation when using different translation regulators (Kozak vs. translation initiator of short UTRs). The in vitro data were confirmed by bioluminescence imaging of expression in mouse livers, 6 h postintravenous injection of a lipidoid nanoparticle-formulated RNA in female Balb/c mice. Luciferase measurements from liver and spleen showed that minimal 5'-UTRs (3 and 7) were either equally effective or better than human alpha-globin 5'-UTR. These findings were confirmed with a human erythropoietin (hEPO)-encoding mRNA. Significantly, higher levels of hEPO could be quantified in supernatants from A549 cells transfected with minimal 5'-UTR7 containing RNA when compared to commonly used benchmarks 5'-UTRs. Our results demonstrate the superior potential of synthetic minimalistic 5'-UTRs for use in transcript therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/ten.TEA.2017.0485DOI Listing
January 2019

Efficient Non-viral Gene Delivery into Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells by Minicircle Sleeping Beauty Transposon Vectors.

Mol Ther 2018 04 31;26(4):1137-1153. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Transposition and Genome Engineering, Division of Medical Biotechnology, Paul Ehrlich Institute, Langen, Germany. Electronic address:

The Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system is a non-viral gene delivery platform that combines simplicity, inexpensive manufacture, and favorable safety features in the context of human applications. However, efficient correction of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) with non-viral vector systems, including SB, demands further refinement of gene delivery techniques. We set out to improve SB gene transfer into hard-to-transfect human CD34 cells by vectorizing the SB system components in the form of minicircles that are devoid of plasmid backbone sequences and are, therefore, significantly reduced in size. As compared to conventional plasmids, delivery of the SB transposon system as minicircle DNA is ∼20 times more efficient, and it is associated with up to a 50% reduction in cellular toxicity in human CD34 cells. Moreover, providing the SB transposase in the form of synthetic mRNA enabled us to further increase the efficacy and biosafety of stable gene delivery into hematopoietic progenitors ex vivo. Genome-wide insertion site profiling revealed a close-to-random distribution of SB transposon integrants, which is characteristically different from gammaretroviral and lentiviral integrations in HSPCs. Transplantation of gene-marked CD34 cells in immunodeficient mice resulted in long-term engraftment and hematopoietic reconstitution, which was most efficient when the SB transposase was supplied as mRNA and nucleofected cells were maintained for 4-8 days in culture before transplantation. Collectively, implementation of minicircle and mRNA technologies allowed us to further refine the SB transposon system in the context of HSPC gene delivery to ultimately meet clinical demands of an efficient and safe non-viral gene therapy protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.01.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079369PMC
April 2018

Human cellular CYBA UTR sequences increase mRNA translation without affecting the half-life of recombinant RNA transcripts.

Sci Rep 2016 12 15;6:39149. Epub 2016 Dec 15.

Institute of Molecular Immunology- Experimental Oncology, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München, Munich, 81675, Germany.

Modified nucleotide chemistries that increase the half-life (T) of transfected recombinant mRNA and the use of non-native 5'- and 3'-untranslated region (UTR) sequences that enhance protein translation are advancing the prospects of transcript therapy. To this end, a set of UTR sequences that are present in mRNAs with long cellular T were synthesized and cloned as five different recombinant sequence set combinations as upstream 5'-UTR and/or downstream 3'-UTR regions flanking a reporter gene. Initial screening in two different cell systems in vitro revealed that cytochrome b-245 alpha chain (CYBA) combinations performed the best among all other UTR combinations and were characterized in detail. The presence or absence of CYBA UTRs had no impact on the mRNA stability of transfected mRNAs, but appeared to enhance the productivity of transfected transcripts based on the measurement of mRNA and protein levels in cells. When CYBA UTRs were fused to human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (hBMP2) coding sequence, the recombinant mRNA transcripts upon transfection produced higher levels of protein as compared to control transcripts. Moreover, transfection of human adipose mesenchymal stem cells with recombinant hBMP2-CYBA UTR transcripts induced bone differentiation demonstrating the osteogenic and therapeutic potential for transcript therapy based on hybrid UTR designs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep39149DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5156912PMC
December 2016

Modified mRNA for BMP-2 in Combination with Biomaterials Serves as a Transcript-Activated Matrix for Effectively Inducing Osteogenic Pathways in Stem Cells.

Stem Cells Dev 2017 01 24;26(1):25-34. Epub 2016 Oct 24.

2 Ethris GmbH , Planegg, Germany .

Bone regeneration using stem cells and growth factors has disadvantages while needing to use supraphysiological growth factors concentrations. Gene therapy has been proposed as alternative, but also has limitation. Messenger RNA (mRNA)-based transcript therapy is a novel approach that may solve plasmid DNA-based gene therapy limitations. Although much more efficient in delivering genes into the cell, mRNA is unfortunately unstable and immunogenic. However, recent reports indicated that chemical modifications of the mRNA molecule can improve stability and toxicity. In this study, we have combined biomaterials and chemically modified mRNA (cmRNA) encoding Metridia luciferase, eGFP, and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2 to develop transcript-activated matrices (TAMs) for gene transfer to stem cells. BMP-2 cmRNA was produced to evaluate its feasibility in stimulating osteogenic differentiation. Fibrin gel and micro-macro biphasic calcium phosphate (MBCP) granules were used as biomaterials. A sustained release of hBMP-2 cmRNA from both biomaterials was observed during 7 days. This occurred significantly faster from the MBCP granules compared to fibrin gels (92% from MBCP and 43% from fibrin after 7 days). Stem cells cultured in hBMP-2 cmRNA/fibrin or on hBMP-2 cmRNA/MBCP were transfected and able to secrete significant amounts of hBMP-2. Furthermore, transfected cells expressed osteogenic markers in vitro. Interestingly, although both TAMs promoted gene expression at the same level, hBMP-2 cmRNA/MBCP granules induced significantly higher collagen I and osteocalcin gene expression. This matrix also induced more mineral deposition. Overall, our results demonstrated the feasibility of developing efficient TAMs for bone regeneration by combining biomaterials and cmRNAs. MBCP synergistically enhances the hBMP-2 cmRNA-induced osteogenic pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/scd.2016.0171DOI Listing
January 2017

Chemically modified RNA induces osteogenesis of stem cells and human tissue explants as well as accelerates bone healing in rats.

Biomaterials 2016 May 19;87:131-146. Epub 2016 Feb 19.

Institute of Molecular Immunology and Experimental Oncology, Technical University Munich, Ismaninger Str. 22, 81675 Munich, Germany; Ethris GmbH, Semmelweisstr. 3, 82152 Planegg, Germany. Electronic address:

Limitations associated to the use of growth factors represent a major hurdle to musculoskeletal regeneration. On the one hand, they are needed to induce neo-tissue formation for the substitution of a necrotic or missing tissue. On the other hand, these factors are used in supraphysiological concentrations, are short lived and expensive and result in many side effects. Here we develop a gene transfer strategy based on the use of chemically modified mRNA (cmRNA) coding for human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (hBMP-2) that is non-immunogenic and highly stable when compared to unmodified mRNA. Transfected stem cells secrete hBMP-2, show elevated alkaline phosphatase levels and upregulated expression of RunX2, ALP, Osterix, Osteocalcin, Osteopontin and Collagen Type I genes. Mineralization was induced as seen by positive Alizarin red staining. hBMP-2 cmRNA transfected human fat tissue also yielded an osteogenic response in vitro as indicated by expression of hBMP-2, RunX2, ALP and Collagen Type I. Delivering hBMP-2 cmRNA to a femur defect in a rat model results in new bone tissue formation as early as 2 weeks after application of very low doses. Overall, our studies demonstrate the feasibility and therapeutic potential of a new cmRNA-based gene therapy strategy that is safe and efficient. When applied clinically, this approach could overcome BMP-2 growth factor associated limitations in bone regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.02.018DOI Listing
May 2016

Stability analysis of chemically modified mRNA using micropattern-based single-cell arrays.

Lab Chip 2015 Sep 23;15(17):3561-71. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

Institute of Molecular Immunology - Experimental Oncology, Technische Universität München, Munich, 81675 Germany.

The measurement of mRNA turnover in living cells plays an important role in the search for stable mRNA constructs for RNA-based therapies. Here we show that automated time-lapse microscopy combined with micropatterned arrays allows for efficient high-throughput monitoring of fluorescent reporter protein expression at the single-cell level. The fluorescence time courses after mRNA transfection yield the distribution of individual mRNA expression and degradation rates within a population. We compare mRNA constructs with combinations of 5' and 3' UTR sequences and find a systematic broadening and shift towards longer functional half-lives for UTR stabilized mRNA. At the same time the life time distribution of the destabilized EGFP reporter protein was found to be constant and narrowly distributed. Using mathematical modeling, we show that mRNA functional life-time predicts the time-integrated protein level, i.e. the area under the curve (AUC) of mRNA translation. Our approach paves the way for quantitative assessment of hitherto unexplored mRNA functional life time heterogeneity, possibly predicated on multiple mRNA secondary structures and its dependence on UTR sequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c5lc00749fDOI Listing
September 2015

Magnetized aerosols comprising superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles improve targeted drug and gene delivery to the lung.

Pharm Res 2012 May 21;29(5):1308-18. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Lindwurmstr 2a, 80337 Munich, Germany.

Purpose: Targeted delivery of aerosols could not only improve efficacy of inhaled drugs but also reduce side effects resulting from their accumulation in healthy tissue. Here we investigated the impact of magnetized aerosols on model drug accumulation and transgene expression in magnetically targeted lung regions of unanesthetized mice.

Methods: Solutions containing superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) and model drugs (fluorescein or complexed plasmid DNA) were nebulized to unanesthetized mice under the influence of an external magnetic gradient directed to the lungs. Drug accumulation and transgene expression was subsequently measured at different time points.

Results: We could demonstrate 2-3 fold higher accumulation of the model drug fluorescein and specific transgene expression in lung regions of mice which had been exposed to an external magnetic gradient during nebulization compared to the control mice without any exposure to magnetic gradient.

Conclusions: Magnetized aerosols present themselves as an efficient approach for targeted pulmonary delivery of drugs and gene therapeutic agents in order to treat localized diseases of the deeper airways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11095-012-0682-zDOI Listing
May 2012

Expression of therapeutic proteins after delivery of chemically modified mRNA in mice.

Nat Biotechnol 2011 Feb 9;29(2):154-7. Epub 2011 Jan 9.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig Maximilian's University Munich, Munich, Germany.

Current viral vectors for gene therapy are associated with serious safety concerns, including leukemogenesis, and nonviral vectors are limited by low gene transfer efficiency. Here we investigate the therapeutic utility of chemically modified mRNA as an alternative to DNA-based gene therapy. A combination of nucleotide modifications abrogates mRNA interaction with Toll-like receptor (TLR)3, TLR7, TLR8 and retinoid-inducible gene I (RIG-I), resulting in low immunogenicity and higher stability in mice. A single intramuscular injection of modified murine erythropoietin mRNA raises the average hematocrit in mice from 51.5% to 64.2% after 28 days. In a mouse model of a lethal congenital lung disease caused by a lack of surfactant protein B (SP-B), twice weekly local application of an aerosol of modified SP-B mRNA to the lung restored 71% of the wild-type SP-B expression, and treated mice survived until the predetermined end of the study after 28 days.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.1733DOI Listing
February 2011

Efficient, specific and targeted delivery of genes to the lung.

Ther Deliv 2010 Jul;1(1):133-48

Division of Molecular Pulmonology, Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Lindwurmstrasse 2A, 80337 Munich, Germany.

Many inherited and acquired pulmonary disorders without satisfactory therapies may be amenable to gene therapy. Despite numerous advances, efficient delivery and expression of the therapeutic transgene at physiological levels for phenotypic correction of disease has proved elusive. This article focuses on various strategies aimed at achieving targeted delivery to the lungs. Both physical methods and biological targeting have been successfully applied in various gene delivery systems. Targeting of different cell types has been achieved by pseudotyping of viral vectors with capsids from different serotypes and modification of nonviral vectors with targeting ligands. Both classes of vectors are discussed with respect to their gene delivery and expression efficiencies, longevity of expression and immunogenicity. Moreover, gene therapy clinical trials for different lung diseases are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4155/tde.10.11DOI Listing
July 2010

Targeting of the prostacyclin specific IP1 receptor in lungs with molecular conjugates comprising prostaglandin I2 analogues.

Biomaterials 2010 Apr 31;31(10):2903-11. Epub 2009 Dec 31.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 80337 Munich, Germany; Department of Pharmacy, Free University of Berlin, 14166 Berlin, Germany.

Molecular conjugates comprising targeting ligands hold great promise for site-specific gene delivery to distant tumors and individual organs including the lung. Here we show that prostaglandin I2 analogues can be used to improve gene transfer efficiency of polyethylenimine (PEI) gene vectors on bronchial and alveolar epithelial cells in vitro and lungs of mice in vivo. Prostacyclin (IP1) receptor expression was confirmed in pulmonary epithelial cell lines by western blot. Iloprost (ILO) and treprostinil (TRP), two prostaglandin I2 analogues, were conjugated to fluorescein-labeled BSA (FLUO-BSA) and compared for IP1 receptor binding/uptake in different lung cell lines. Binding of FLUO-BSA-ILO was 2-4-fold higher than for FLUO-BSA-TRP and could be specifically inhibited by free ILO and IP1 receptor antagonist CAY10449. Internalization of FLUO-BSA-ILO was confirmed by confocal microscopy. Molecular conjugates of PEI and ILO (PEI-g-ILO) were synthesized with increasing coupling degree (F(ILO) (ILO:PEI) = 2, 5, 8, 16) and analyzed for DNA binding, particle formation and transfection efficiency. At optimized conditions (N/P 4, F(ILO) = 5), gene expression using PEI-g-ILO was significantly up to 46-fold higher than for PEI gene vectors and specifically inhibited by CAY10449. Gene expression in the lungs of mice after aerosol delivery was 14-fold higher with PEI-g-ILO F(ILO) = 5 than for PEI. We suggest that targeting of IP1 receptor using ILO represents a promising approach to improve pulmonary gene transfer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.12.035DOI Listing
April 2010

Vectors for pulmonary gene therapy.

Int J Pharm 2010 May 13;390(1):84-8. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Lindwurmstrasse 2a, 80337 Munich, Germany.

The success of gene transfer in preclinical animal models and proof of principle clinical studies has made gene therapy an attractive concept for disease treatment. A variety of diseases affecting the lung are candidates for gene therapy. Delivery of genes to the lungs seems to be straightforward, because of the easy accessibility of epithelial cells via the airways. However, efficient delivery and expression of the therapeutic transgene at levels sufficient to result in phenotypic correction of the diseased state have proven elusive. This review presents a brief summary about current status and future prospects in the development of viral and non-viral strategies for pulmonary gene therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpharm.2009.10.010DOI Listing
May 2010

Self-assembly of ternary insulin-polyethylenimine (PEI)-DNA nanoparticles for enhanced gene delivery and expression in alveolar epithelial cells.

Biomacromolecules 2009 Oct;10(10):2912-20

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.

Enhancing gene delivery and expression in alveolar epithelial cells could offer the opportunity for the treatment of acquired and inherited lung diseases. Here, we show that particle adsorption of human insulin (INS) is capable of increasing plasmid DNA (pDNA) delivery from polyethylenimine (PEI) nanoparticles specifically in alveolar epithelial cells. INS receptors were predominantly detected on alveolar but not on bronchial epithelial cells. INS was adsorbed on the surface of PEI gene vectors by spontaneous self-assembly resulting in ternary PEI-pDNA-INS nanoparticles. Surface adsorption was confirmed by particle size, surface charge, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements. INS adsorption significantly increased gene expression of PEI-pDNA nanoparticles up to 16-fold on alveolar epithelial cells but not on bronchial epithelial cells. This increased gene expression was INS receptor specific. Our results demonstrate that targeting INS receptor for gene delivery in alveolar epithelial cells represents a promising approach for enhanced gene delivery and expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bm900707jDOI Listing
October 2009

Targeted gene delivery to the lung.

Expert Opin Drug Deliv 2009 Jun;6(6):567-83

Ludwig-Maximilians University, Division of Molecular Pulmonology, Department of Paediatrics, Lindwurmstrasse 2A, D-80337 Munich, Germany.

Gene therapy holds promise for the treatment of a range of inherited pulmonary disorders. However, efficient delivery and expression of the therapeutic transgene at levels sufficient to result in phenotypic correction of the diseased state has proved elusive. This review focuses on the development of gene delivery strategies for the lungs. One of the principal prerequisites for successful gene therapy is the delivery of gene vectors to the target area within a tissue and to target cells within that area. Physical and biological targeting of the gene vectors and its application in various models is discussed. Subsequently, both viral and non-viral vectors are addressed with respect to their transfection efficiency in different lung cells, the longevity of expression and their immunogenicity. Also, the various methods for pulmonary gene delivery are evaluated for their merits and limitations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1517/17425240902927841DOI Listing
June 2009

Targeting of the beta(2)-adrenoceptor increases nonviral gene delivery to pulmonary epithelial cells in vitro and lungs in vivo.

J Control Release 2009 May 24;135(3):234-41. Epub 2009 Jan 24.

Department of Pediatrics, Ludwig-Maximilians University, 80337 Munich, Germany; Free University of Berlin, Department of Pharmacy, 14166 Berlin, Germany.

Coupling of targeting ligands to polyethylenimine (PEI) has been previously used to improve transfection efficiency of PEI gene vectors. Here, we show that the beta(2)-adrenoceptor (beta(2)-AR) agonist, clenbuterol (Clen), can be used to improve gene transfer efficiency of PEI gene vectors on alveolar epithelial cells in vitro and in the lungs of mice in vivo. Clenbuterol conjugated to fluorescein-labeled bovine serum albumin resulted in clenbuterol-specific cellular uptake predominantly into alveolar but not bronchial epithelial cells. Clen-g-PEI (4/1) conjugates were combined with increasing molar ratios of PEI for transfection. At optimized PEI-g-Clen/PEI composition, transfection efficiency on alveolar epithelial cells was up to 14-fold higher than for unmodified PEI and could be inhibited by an excess of free clenbuterol. No increase of transfection efficiency was observed on bronchial epithelial cells. Increasing the PEI-g-Clen/PEI molar ratio resulted in an increase of gene vector size, decrease of the zeta potential and cytotoxicity. Aerosol delivery of optimized PEI-g-Clen/PEI (1/5) gene vectors resulted in a significant 3-fold increase of gene expression in the lungs of mice compared with unmodified PEI gene vectors. We suggest that coupling of beta(2)-adrenoceptor ligands to nonviral gene vectors represents a promising approach to improve gene delivery to the lungs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jconrel.2009.01.012DOI Listing
May 2009

RNA fingerprinting--a new method to screen for differences in plant litter degrading microbial communities.

J Microbiol Methods 2004 Nov;59(2):223-31

GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Soil Ecology, PO Box 1129, Neuherberg D-85764, Germany.

Microbial activities are essential for the nutrient turnover processes in soil and play an important role in the degradation of complex organic material, for example, plant leaf litter. However, very little is known about the microorganisms and their genes involved during the course of leaf litter decomposition. In the present study, we describe the non-radioactive application of RNA arbitrarily primed-PCR (RAP-PCR) protocol in combination with the classic litter bag technique to investigate the metabolic profiles of microbial community involved in leaf litter degradation after 2 and 8 weeks of degradation in four different soil sites, without using selective primer systems for PCR. Due to the significantly reduced target sites for PCR primers, compared to the published papers about RAP fingerprinting of more complex microbial communities based on DNA analysis (only transcripts from microbes on the litter material were analysed), the patterns of parallel samples were highly reproducible (>95%). Shifts in microbial community structure and function were observed during the course of degradation. Each litter sample had its unique metabolic profile and both soil effects and litter quality effects were evident. RAP-PCR products were also cloned to generate libraries. Clone libraries were screened by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and representative samples sequenced to identify the inserts. Both mRNA and rRNA transcripts were obtained confirming the presence of mRNA in total RNA preparations. Hence, the described protocol is a good screening method to find similarities or differences in the structure and function of microbial communities involved in litter degradation, which may be the basis for more detailed studies by cloning and sequencing approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mimet.2004.07.005DOI Listing
November 2004