Receptor-Mediated Gene Transfer Vectors: Progress Towards Genetic Pharmaceuticals
A. G. Gomez-Valades,
J. C. Perales.
Although specific delivery to tissues and unique cell types in vivo has been demonstrated for many non-viral vectors, current methods are still inadequate for human applications, mainly because of limitations on their efficiencies. All the steps required for an efficient receptor-mediated gene transfer process may in principle be exploited to enhance targeted gene delivery. These steps are: DNA / vector binding, internalization, subcellular trafficking, vesicular escape, nuclear import, and unpacking either for transcription or other functions (i.e., antisense, RNA interference, etc.). The large variety of vector designs that are currently available, usually aimed at improving the efficiency of these steps, has complicated the evaluation of data obtained from specific derivatives of such vectors. The importance of the structure of the final vector and the consequences of design decisions at specific steps on the overall efficiency of the vector will be discussed in detail. We emphasize in this review that stability in serum and thus, proper bioavailability of vectors to their specific receptors may be the single greatest limiting factor on the overall gene transfer efficiency in vivo. We discuss current approaches to overcome the intrinsic instability of synthetic vectors in the blood. In this regard, a summary of the structural features of the vectors obtained from current protocols will be presented and their functional characteristics evaluated. Dissecting information on molecular conjugates obtained by such methodologies, when carefully evaluated, should provide important guidelines for the creation of effective, targeted and safe DNA therapeutics.
Keywords: receptor-mediated gene transfer, targeted non-viral vectors, molecular conjugates, nanoparticles, polyplex, gene therapy, transfection
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