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Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(8):e59. Epub 2007 Mar 28.

A tractable method for simultaneous modifications to the head and tail of bacteriophage lambda and its application to enhancing phage-mediated gene delivery.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, 601 Elmwood Ave., Box 672, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


There is considerable interest in the use of bacteriophage vectors for mammalian cell gene transfer applications, due to their stability, excellent safety profile and inexpensive mass production. However, to date, phage vectors have been plagued by mediocre performance as gene transfer agents. This may reflect the complexity of the viral infection process in mammalian cells and the need to refine each step of this process in order to arrive at an optimal, phage-based gene transfer system. Therefore, a flexible system was designed that alowed for the introduction of multiple modifications on the surface of bacteriophage lambda. Using this novel method, multiple peptides were displayed simultaneously from both the phage head and tail. Surface head display of an ubiquitinylation motif greatly increased the efficiency of phage-mediated gene transfer in a murine macrophage cell line. Gene transfer was further increased when this peptide was displayed in combination with a tail-displayed CD40-binding motif. Overall, this work provides a novel system that can be used to rationally improve bacteriophage gene transfer vectors and shows it may be possible to enhance the efficiency of phage-mediated gene transfer by targeting and optimizing multiple steps within the viral infection pathway.

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