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Gene Ther. 2011 Sep;18(9):891-7. doi: 10.1038/gt.2011.35. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Inhibition of nuclear delivery of plasmid DNA and transcription by interferon γ: hurdles to be overcome for sustained gene therapy.

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Department of Biopharmaceutics and Drug Metabolism, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Sustained expression of murine interferon (IFN)-γ (Muγ) was found to be effective in preventing tumor metastasis and atopic dermatitis in mouse models. However, our preliminary experiments suggested that the time-dependent decrease in the Muγ expression was not compensated for by repeated injections of Muγ-expressing plasmid. To identify the mechanism underlying this observation, a reporter plasmid was hydrodynamically injected into mice and the levels of the plasmid, mRNA and reporter protein were measured in mice receiving a pre- or co-administration of Muγ-expressing plasmid. Co-injection of Muγ-expressing plasmid had no significant effects on transgene expression from the reporter plasmid. In contrast, pre-injection of Muγ-expressing plasmid greatly inhibited the expression of the reporter protein. Moreover, pre-injection of Muγ-expressing plasmid also reduced the amount of the reporter plasmid in the nuclear fraction of mouse liver to < 10%, and that of reporter mRNA to < 1%. The degree of reduction in the expression of reporter protein was comparable with the reduction in mRNA. These results indicate that the difficulty in regaining the expression level of IFN-γ is due to the impaired delivery of plasmid to the nucleus and to the suppression of transcription from the plasmid.

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