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Journal Articles Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Year : 2011

Direct visualization at the single-cell level of siRNA electrotransfer into cancer cells

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Abstract

The RNA interference-mediated gene silencing approach is promising for therapies based on the targeted inhibition of disease-relevant genes. Electropermeabilization is one of the nonviral methods successfully used to transfer siRNA into living cells in vitro and in vivo. Although this approach is effective in the field of gene silencing by RNA interference, very little is known about the basic processes supporting siRNA transfer. In this study, we investigated, by direct visualization at the single-cell level, the delivery of Alexa Fluor 546-labeled siRNA into murine melanoma cells stably expressing the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) as a target gene. The electrotransfer of siRNA was quantified by time lapse fluorescence microscopy and was correlated with the silencing of egfp expression. A direct transfer into the cell cytoplasm of the negatively charged siRNA was observed across the plasma membrane exclusively on the side facing the cathode. When added after electropulsation, the siRNA was inefficient for gene silencing because it did not penetrate the cells. Therefore, we report that an electric field acts on both the permeabilization of the cell plasma membrane and on the electrophoretic drag of the negatively charged siRNA molecules from the bulk phase into the cytoplasm. The transfer kinetics of siRNA are compatible with the creation of nanopores, which are described with the technique of synthetic nanopores. The mechanism involved was clearly specific for the physico-chemical properties of the electrotransferred molecule and was different from that observed with small molecules or plasmid DNA.
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inserm-02438940 , version 1 (14-01-2020)

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Aurélie Paganin-Gioanni, Elisabeth Bellard, Jean-Michel Escoffre, Marie-Pierre Rols, Teissié Justin, et al.. Direct visualization at the single-cell level of siRNA electrotransfer into cancer cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2011, 108 (26), pp.10443-10447. ⟨10.1073/pnas.1103519108⟩. ⟨inserm-02438940⟩
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