A promising approach to gene therapy involves short DNA fragments (interfering RNA) that bind to specific genes and block their “translation” into the corresponding, disease-related protein. A stumbling block has been the efficient and targeted delivery of RNA into the cells. Researchers led by Hongjie Dai at Stanford University have chosen to use carbon nanotubes as their “means of transport”.
This has allowed them to successfully introduce RNA fragments that “switch off” the genes for special HIV-specific receptors and co-receptors on the cells’ surface into human T-cells and primary blood cells. This leaves few “entry hatches” for the HIV viruses. The researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie that this allows for much better silencing effect to the cells than current transport systems based on liposomes.
T-cells are one of the types of white blood cells important for a good immune defense; they detect and destroy virus-affected cells. However, they themselves are among the targets attacked by HIV. In order to enter into a T-cell, the virus must first dock to a receptor known as CD4. Also involved is the co-receptor CXCR4. The use of short interfering RNA strands allows the CD4 and CXCR4 genes of the T-cell to be shut off. The T-cell then strops producing these receptors and the virus cannot find any points of attack on the surface of the cell. This could significantly slow down an HIV infection, as previous work have shown.
But how to get the RNA fragments into the T-cells? The shells of nonpathogenic viruses can be used to smuggle genetic material into cells, but this is dangerous in therapeutic applications because they can trigger allergies. Liposomes, tiny bubbles of fat, are safe but have proven to be ineffective for use in T-cells. Dai and his co-workers have tested a new transport system: carbon nanotubes are known for their abilities to be absorbed by cells and to smuggle other molecules in at the same time. The researchers attached phospholipids—molecules from which cell membranes are also made—to chains of polyethylene glycol. The phospholipids nestle securely onto the outer wall of the carbon nanotubes while the polyethylene glycol chains protrude into the surrounding solution. The required RNA molecules were fastened to the ends of these chains. Once inside the cell, the RNA could easily be split off by means of a sulfur–sulfur bridge.
Author: Hongjie Dai, Stanford University (USA), http://www.stanford.edu/dept/chemistry/faculty/dai/
Title: siRNA Delivery into Human T Cells and Primary Cells with Carbon-Nanotube Transporters
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2007, 46, No. 12, doi: 10.1002/anie.200604295
Hongjie Dai | Angewandte Chemie
The world's tiniest first responders
21.06.2018 | University of Southern California
A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå
21.06.2018 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
21.06.2018 | Life Sciences
21.06.2018 | Earth Sciences