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Methods Mol Biol. 2009;493:103-23. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-523-7_7.

Helios Gene Gun-mediated transfection of the inner ear sensory epithelium.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Section on Human Genetics, NIDCD, National Institutes of Health, Rockville MD, USA.


Helios Gene Gun-mediated transfection is a biolistic method for mechanical delivery of exogenous DNA into cells in vitro or in vivo. The technique is based on bombardment of a targeted cellular surface by micron- or submicron-sized DNA-coated gold particles that are accelerated by a pressure pulse of compressed helium gas. The main advantage of Helios Gene Gun-mediated transfections is that it functions well on various cell types, including terminally differentiated cells that are difficult to transfect, such as neurons or inner ear sensory hair cells, and cells in internal cellular layers, such as neurons in organotypic brain slices. The successful delivery of mRNA, siRNA, or DNA of practically any size can be achieved using biolistic transfection. This chapter provides a detailed description and critical evaluation of the methodology used to transfect cDNA expression constructs, including green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged full-length cDNAs of myosin XVa, whirlin, and beta-actin, into cultured inner ear sensory epithelia using the Bio-Rad Helios Gene Gun.

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