Asialoglycoprotein receptor (ASGPR)-mediated endocytosis has been used to target genes to hepatocytes in vivo. However, the level and duration of transgene expression have been low because of lysosomal translocation and degradation of the DNA and lack of its integration into the host genome. In this study we packaged the DNA of interest in proteoliposomes containing the fusogenic galactose-terminated F-glycoprotein of the Sendai virus (FPL) for targeted delivery to hepatocytes. After the FPL binds to ASGPR on the hepatocyte surface, fusogenic activity of the F-protein delivers the DNA into the cytosol, bypassing the endosomal pathway. For transgene integration we designed plasmids containing one transcription unit expressing the Sleeping Beauty transposase (SB) and another expressing human uridinediphosphoglucuronate glucuronosyltransferase-1A1 (pSB-hUGT1A1). The latter was flanked by inverted/direct repeats that are substrates of SB. In cell culture, FPL-mediated delivery of the E. coli β-galactosidase gene (LacZ) resulted in transduction of ASGPR-positive cells (rat hepatocytes or Hepa1 cell line), but not of ASGPR-negative 293 cells. Intravenous injection of the FPL-entrapped pSB-hUGT1A1 (4-8 μg/day, 1-4 doses) into UGT1A1-deficient hyperbilirubinemic Gunn rats (model of Crigler-Najjar syndrome type 1) resulted in hUGT1A1 expression in 5%-10% of hepatocytes, but not in other cell types. Serum bilirubin levels declined by 30% ± 4% in 2 weeks and remained at that level throughout the 7-month study duration. With histidine containing FPL, serum bilirubin was reduced by 40% ± 5%, and bilirubin glucuronides were excreted into bile. No antibodies were detectable in the recipient rats against the F-protein or human UGT1A1. Conclusion: FPL is an efficient hepatocyte-targeted gene delivery platform in vivo that warrants further exploration toward clinical application.
ASJC Scopus subject areas