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Gene. 2006 Jul 5;376(1):87-94. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

pH-sensing nano-crystals of carbonate apatite: effects on intracellular delivery and release of DNA for efficient expression into mammalian cells.

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Department of Biomolecular Engineering, Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.


Two unique and fascinating properties of carbonate apatite which are well-known in hard tissue engineering, have been unveiled, for the first time, for the development of the simplest, but most efficient non-viral gene delivery device - ability of preventing the growth of crystals needed for high frequency DNA transfer across a plasma membrane and a fast dissolution rate for effective release of DNA during endosomal acidification, leading to a remarkably high transgene expression (5 to 100-fold) in mammalian cells compared to the widely used transfecting agents. Moreover, by modulating the crystal dissolution rate of carbonate apatite through incorporation of fluoride or strontium into it, transfection activity could be dramatically controlled, thus shedding light on a new barrier in the non-viral route, which was overlooked so far. Thus we have developed an innovative technology with significant insights, that would come as a promising tool for both basic research laboratories and clinical settings.

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