The role of the cell cycle on the efficiency of photochemical gene transfection

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Apr 15;1570(3):210-8. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4165(02)00202-7.


The efficiency of gene transfection mediated by nonviral vectors is limited because of nonoptimal intracellular trafficking of transfecting DNA. Most nonviral vectors deliver transfecting DNA into a cell through endocytosis. However, poor escape from endocytic vesicles and inefficient transport of DNA into the nucleus often limits a success of gene transfection. Photochemical transfection is a new method, based on light-induced permeabilisation of endocytic vesicles, liberating transfecting DNA into the cytosol, concurrently increasing the chances for DNA to enter the nucleus. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the cell cycle for the efficiency of photochemical transfection. It was demonstrated that in asynchronous human colon carcinoma HCT 116 cells photochemical treatment increased the transfection mediated by the nonviral vectors, the cationic polypeptide polylysine and the cationic lipid N-(2-aminoethyl)-N,N-dimethyl-2,3-bis(tetradecyloxy)-1-propanaminium bromide/dioleoylphosphatidylethanolamine (beta AE-DMRIE/DOPE), by 30- and 2.5-fold, respectively. In aphidicolin-synchronised cells, photochemical transfection mediated by polylysine was dependent on the cell cycle: transfection level was 4-fold higher when illumination, inducing photochemical reactions, was performed during the G2/M phase as compared to the G1/early-S phase. The cell cycle influence on photochemical transfection mediated by beta AE-DMRIE/DOPE was very low: only 20% difference between G2/M and the G1/S phase was observed. We suggest that transgenes, photochemically liberated close/during mitosis, perhaps have the highest opportunity to enter the nucleus and be expressed. However, the dependence of photochemical transfection on the cell cycle might be partially disguised by various factors induced by photochemical treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aphidicolin / pharmacology
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Oligonucleotides / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Photochemistry / methods*
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Transfection / methods*
  • Transgenes
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • 1,2-dioleoyl-glycero-3-phosphatidyl ethanolamine
  • Lipids
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Phosphatidylethanolamines
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • (3-dimyristyloxypropyl)(dimethyl)(hydroxyethyl)ammonium
  • Aphidicolin
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate