Visualization of intracellular trafficking of exogenous DNA delivered by cationic liposomes

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Nov 8;298(4):591-7. doi: 10.1016/s0006-291x(02)02485-3.


To visualize the intracellular trafficking of exogenous DNAs delivered by cationic liposomes, rhodamine-labeled DNAs were transfected into NIH3T3 cells and observed by confocal laser microscopy. After 0.5- to 1-h incubations, the DNAs reached the nucleus with a much higher frequency than that expected from the cell division rate. This result suggests that DNAs can enter the nucleus in the presence of the nuclear membrane. Interestingly, some DNAs appeared to extend through the nuclear membrane in the aggregated form which were much larger than the nuclear pore complex. The DNAs which have passed through the nuclear membrane were stained with SYTO 24, a DNA labeling reagent. The stained part may be "naked" DNA that is free of lipids or proteins. This observation indicates that a complex containing DNA fuses with the nuclear membrane and then naked DNA is released into the nucleus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cations
  • DNA / administration & dosage
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Liposomes
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Nuclear Envelope / metabolism
  • Transfection


  • Cations
  • Liposomes
  • DNA