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J Gene Med. 2004 Aug;6(8):884-94.

Enhanced gene transfer and cell death following p53 gene transfer using photochemical internalisation of glucosylated PEI-DNA complexes.

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Laboratoire de Recherche en Oncologie, Centre Alexis Vautrin, EA3452, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.



p53 is frequently mutated in many cancers including human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. In tumor models, wild-type (wt) p53 gene transfer induces apoptosis and tumor regression in vivo, justifying the extensive clinical investigation of p53 gene therapy.


p53 nonviral-mediated gene transfer was achieved using glucosylated polyethylenimine (PEI) in conjunction with photochemical internalisation (PCI). Experimental conditions were optimised using the green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a reporter. p53 gene transfer was then evaluated using semi-quantitative RT-PCR in p53-deleted PANC3 and p53-mutated FaDu cell lines. Following gene transfer, induction of apoptosis was investigated using phosphatidylserine externalisation and nuclear fragmentation assays. Induction of long-term cell death was analysed using colony-forming assays.


PCI was found to enhance GFP gene transfer after 48 h in both cell lines. Whether using glucosylated-PEI alone or associated with PCI, p53 gene transfer was achieved with subsequent recovery of p53 mRNA expression in PANC3 cells and a significant 4-fold increase in p53 mRNA expression in FaDu cells. PCI was found to further enhance p53 mRNA expression by 2.3-fold in PANC3 cells. Spontaneous induction of apoptosis following wt-p53 gene transfer was achieved in both cell lines. PCI was found to enhance apoptosis up to levels similar to those achieved with chemotherapy. As a consequence, long-term cell death was significantly enhanced after wt-p53 gene transfer when PCI was used in both cell lines, yielding up to 60% cell death.


PCI increases glucosylated-PEI-mediated p53 gene transfer, apoptosis as well as cell death in mutant p53 human cancer cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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