In this study, we evaluated cationic liposomes prepared from diether-NH2 and egg phosphatidylcholine (EPC) for in vitro gene delivery. The impact of the lipid composition, i.e. the EPC and Diether-NH2 molar ratio, on in vitro transfection efficiency and cytotoxicity was investigated using the human HEK293T and hepatoma HepaRG cells known to be permissive and poorly permissive cells for liposome-mediated gene transfer, respectively. Here, we report that EPC/Diether-NH2-based liposomes enabled a very efficient transfection with low cytotoxicity compared to commercial transfection reagents in both HEK293T and proliferating progenitor HepaRG cells. Taking advantage of these non-toxic EPC/Diether-NH2-based liposomes, we developed a method to efficiently transfect differentiated hepatocyte-like HepaRG cells and a biosensor plasmid containing a Xenobiotic Responsive Element and a minimal promoter driving the transcription of the luciferase reporter gene. We demonstrated that the luciferase activity was induced by a canonical inducer of cytochrome P450 genes, the benzo[a]pyrene, and two environmental contaminants, the fluoranthene, a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, and the endosulfan, an organochlorine insecticide, known to induce toxicity and genotoxicity in differentiated HepaRG cells. In conclusion, we established a new efficient lipofection-mediated gene transfer in hepatocyte-like HepaRG cells opening new perspectives in drug evaluation relying on xenobiotic inducible biosensor plasmids.
Keywords: Archaeolipids; Biosensor plasmid; Diether lipids; HepaRG cells; Liposomes; Transfection.
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