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Methods Mol Biol. 2008;423:19-33. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-194-9_2.

Mechanism by which electroporation mediates DNA migration and entry into cells and targeted tissues.

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Institut de Pharmacologie et de Biologie Structurale, Toulouse, France.


Cell membranes can be transiently permeabilized under application of electric pulses that allow hydrophilic therapeutic molecules, such as anticancer drugs and DNA, to enter into cells and tissues. This process, called electropermeabilization or electroporation, has been rapidly developed over the last decade to deliver genes to tissues and organs, but there is a general agreement that very little is known about what is really occurring during membrane electropermeabilization. It is well accepted that the entry of small molecules, such as anticancer drugs, occurs through simple diffusion while the entry of macromolecules, such as DNA, occurs through a multistep mechanism involving the electrophoretically driven association of the DNA molecule with the destabilized membrane and then its passage across the membrane. Therefore, successful DNA electrotransfer into cells depends not only on cell permeabilization but also on the way plasmid DNA interacts with the plasma membrane and, once into the cell, migrates toward the nuclei.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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