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Mol Ther. 2006 Jan;13(1):151-9. Epub 2005 Sep 2.

High-efficiency transfection of primary human and mouse T lymphocytes using RNA electroporation.

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Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The use of nonviral gene transfer methods in primary lymphocytes has been hampered by low gene transfer efficiency and high transfection-related toxicity. In this report, high gene transfection efficiency with low transfection-related toxicity was achieved by electroporation using in vitro-transcribed mRNA. Using these methods, >90% transgene expression with >80% viable cells was observed in stimulated primary human and murine T lymphocytes transfected with GFP or mCD62L. Electroporation of unstimulated human PBMCs or murine splenocytes with GFP RNA yielded 95 and 56% GFP+ cells, respectively. Electroporation of mRNA for NY-ESO-1, MART-1, and p53 antigen-specific TCRs into human T lymphocytes redirected these lymphocytes to recognize melanoma cell lines in an MHC-restricted manner. The onset of gene expression was rapid (within 30 min) and durable (up to 7 days postelectroporation) using both GFP and TCR-mediated recognition of target cells. There was no adverse effect observed on the T lymphocytes subjected to RNA electroporation evaluated by cell growth rate, annexin-V staining of apoptotic cells, BrdU incorporation, tumor antigen-specific recognition or antigen-specific TCR affinity. The results of this study indicate that mRNA electroporation provides a powerful tool to introduce genes into both human and murine primary T lymphocytes.

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