Supercoiled Minivector DNA resists shear forces associated with gene therapy delivery

Gene Ther. 2012 Jan;19(1):94-100. doi: 10.1038/gt.2011.77. Epub 2011 Jun 2.


Supercoiled DNAs varying from 281 to 5302 bp were subjected to shear forces generated by aerosolization or sonication. DNA shearing strongly correlated with length. Typical sized plasmids (≥ 3000 bp) degraded rapidly. DNAs 2000-3000 bp persisted ~10 min. Even in the absence of condensing agents, supercoiled DNA <1200 bp survived nebulization, and increased forces of sonication were necessary to shear it. Circular vectors were considerably more resistant to shearing than linear vectors of the same length. DNA supercoiling afforded additional protection. These results show the potential of shear-resistant Minivector DNAs to overcome one of the major challenges associated with gene therapy delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Base Sequence / physiology
  • DNA, Superhelical / chemistry
  • DNA, Superhelical / physiology*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Genetic Vectors / chemistry
  • Genetic Vectors / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Plasmids / chemistry
  • Plasmids / physiology
  • Shear Strength / physiology*
  • Sonication


  • Aerosols
  • DNA, Superhelical