33 research outputs found

    Skin Electroporation: Effects on Transgene Expression, DNA Persistence and Local Tissue Environment

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    BACKGROUND: Electrical pulses have been used to enhance uptake of molecules into living cells for decades. This technique, often referred to as electroporation, has become an increasingly popular method to enhance in vivo DNA delivery for both gene therapy applications as well as for delivery of vaccines against both infectious diseases and cancer. In vivo electrovaccination (gene delivery followed by electroporation) is currently being investigated in several clinical trials, including DNA delivery to healthy volunteers. However, the mode of action at molecular level is not yet fully understood. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study investigates intradermal DNA electrovaccination in detail and describes the effects on expression of the vaccine antigen, plasmid persistence and the local tissue environment. Gene profiling of the vaccination site showed that the combination of DNA and electroporation induced a significant up-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes. In vivo imaging of luciferase activity after electrovaccination demonstrated a rapid onset (minutes) and a long duration (months) of transgene expression. However, when the more immunogenic prostate specific antigen (PSA) was co-administered, PSA-specific T cells were induced and concurrently the luciferase expression became undetectable. Electroporation did not affect the long-term persistence of the PSA-expressing plasmid. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study provides important insights to how DNA delivery by intradermal electrovaccination affects the local immunological responses of the skin, transgene expression and clearance of the plasmid. As the described vaccination approach is currently being evaluated in clinical trials, the data provided will be of high significance

    Topical Gene Electrotransfer to the Epidermis of Hairless Guinea Pig by Non-invasive Multielectrode Array

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    Topical gene delivery to the epidermis has the potential to be an effective therapy for skin disorders, cutaneous cancers, vaccinations and systemic metabolic diseases. Previously, we reported on a non-invasive multielectrode array (MEA) that efficiently delivered plasmid DNA and enhanced expression to the skin of several animal models by in vivo gene electrotransfer. Here, we characterized plasmid DNA delivery with the MEA in a hairless guinea pig model, which has a similar histology and structure to human skin. Significant elevation of gene expression up to 4 logs was achieved with intradermal DNA administration followed by topical non-invasive skin gene electrotransfer. This delivery produced gene expression in the skin of hairless guinea pig up to 12 to 15 days. Gene expression was observed exclusively in the epidermis. Skin gene electrotransfer with the MEA resulted in only minimal and mild skin changes. A low level of human Factor IX was detected in the plasma of hairless guinea pig after geneelectrotransfer with the MEA, although a significant increase of Factor IX was obtained in the skin of animals. These results suggest geneelectrotransfer with the MEA can be a safe, efficient, non-invasive skin delivery method for skin disorders, vaccinations and potential systemic diseases where low levels of gene products are sufficient

    Host-Adaptation of Francisella tularensis Alters the Bacterium's Surface-Carbohydrates to Hinder Effectors of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with both intracellular and extracellular phases and could reasonably be expected to express distinct phenotypes in these environments. The presence of a capsule on this bacterium has been controversial with some groups finding such a structure while other groups report that no capsule could be identified. Previously we reported in vitro culture conditions for this bacterium which, in contrast to typical methods, yielded a bacterial phenotype that mimics that of the bacterium's mammalian, extracellular phase.SDS-PAGE and carbohydrate analysis of differentially-cultivated F. tularensis LVS revealed that bacteria displaying the host-adapted phenotype produce both longer polymers of LPS O-antigen (OAg) and additional HMW carbohydrates/glycoproteins that are reduced/absent in non-host-adapted bacteria. Analysis of wildtype and OAg-mutant bacteria indicated that the induced changes in surface carbohydrates involved both OAg and non-OAg species. To assess the impact of these HMW carbohydrates on the access of outer membrane constituents to antibody we used differentially-cultivated bacteria in vitro to immunoprecipitate antibodies directed against outer membrane moieties. We observed that the surface-carbohydrates induced during host-adaptation shield many outer membrane antigens from binding by antibody. Similar assays with normal mouse serum indicate that the induced HMW carbohydrates also impede complement deposition. Using an in vitro macrophage infection assay, we find that the bacterial HMW carbohydrate impedes TLR2-dependent, pro-inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages. Lastly we show that upon host-adaptation, the human-virulent strain, F. tularensis SchuS4 also induces capsule production with the effect of reducing macrophage-activation and accelerating tularemia pathogenesis in mice.F. tularensis undergoes host-adaptation which includes production of multiple capsular materials. These capsules impede recognition of bacterial outer membrane constituents by antibody, complement, and Toll-Like Receptor 2. These changes in the host-pathogen interface have profound implications for pathogenesis and vaccine development