Efficient and sustained gene expression in primary T lymphocytes and primary and cultured tumor cells mediated by adeno-associated virus plasmid DNA complexed to cationic liposomes

Ramila Philip, Elisa Brunette, Lydia Kilinski, Deepa Murugesh, Maureen A. McNally, Kalust Ucar, Joseph Rosenblatt, Thomas B. Okarma, Jane S. Lebkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Scopus citations


We have used cationic liposomes to facilitate adeno-associated virus (AAV) plasmid transfections of primary and cultured cell types. AAV plasmid DNA complexed with liposomes showed levels of expression several fold higher than those of complexes with standard plasmids. In addition, long-term expression (>30 days) of the gene, unlike the transient expression demonstrated by typical liposome-mediated transfection with standard plasmids, was observed. Southern analysis of chromosomal DNA further substantiated the hypothesis that the long-term expression was due to the presence of the transgene in the AAV plasmid-transfected group and not in the standard plasmid-transfected group. AAV plasmid-liposome complexes induced levels of transgene expression comparable to those obtained by recombinant AAV transduction. Primary breast, ovarian, and lung tumor cells were transfectable with the AAV plasmid DNA- liposome complexes. Transfected primary and cultured tumor cells were able to express transgene product even after lethal irradiation. High-level gene expression was also observed in freshly isolated CD3+, CD4+, and CD8+ T cells from normal human peripheral blood. Transfection efficiency ranged from 10 to 50% as assessed by intracellular interleukin-2 levels in interleukin- 2-transfected cells. The ability to express transgenes in primary tumor and lymphoid cells may be applied toward tumor vaccine studies and protocols which may eventually permit highly specific modulation of the cellular immune response in cancer and AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2411-2418
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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