Gene transfer by adenovirus-mimetic peptides in the presence of a cationic lipid and/or adenovirus. Analysis of the contribution of the viral and nonviral components
The addition of replication-defective recombinant adenovirus to plasmid transfection (termed here "adenofection") has been shown to increase plasmid transgene expression in limited studies. Similarly, the addition of cationic liposomes to adenovirus increases adenovirus-mediated gene transduction (termed here "lipoduction"). Here we demonstrate that adenofection was effective at enhancing transgene expression when used in conjunction with a variety of different transfection reagents, including a monocationic liposome, a polycationic liposome, an activated dendrimer, a large multilamellar liposomal vesicle, and a protein/amphipathic polyamine complex. The effect was seen regardless of the cellular expression of the adenovirus receptor, CAR, in three different human cancer cell lines derived from rhabdomyosarcomas (Rh18 and RD, CAR-) and cervical carcinoma (HeLa, CAR+). The protein/amphipathic polyamine complex showed an adenofection effect but did not show a lipoduction effect, consistent with different mechanisms of action for adenofection and lipoduction. Using dual-color flow cytometric analysis of cells transfected with a plasmid expressing the enhanced blue fluorescent protein (pEBFP) and a recombinant adenovirus expressing the green fluorescent protein (Ad5-GFP), we demonstrate that adenofection works primarily by increasing gene expression within a cell, whereas lipoduction increases the percentage of cells expressing the transgene. In addition, these studies show that both adenofection and lipoduction can occur simultaneously, further increasing gene transfer. The combination of lipofection and adenovirus transduction also prolonged the duration of transient gene expression and was generally no more toxic than lipofection alone. The enhancement of gene transfer was also seen after injection of complexes directly into subcutaneous human xenograft tumors. Therefore, more effective gene transfer in vitro and in vivo of either plasmid DNA, adenovirus DNA, or both can be achieved by combining liposomal transfection with adenoviral transduction.