Effect of serum on transfection by polyethylenimine/virus-like particle hybrid gene delivery vectors

David M. Drake, Rahul K. Keswani, Daniel W. Pack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Murine leukemia virus-like particles (M-VLP) complexed with polymers to promote cellular uptake and endosomal escape represent a new class of effective gene delivery vectors. Building upon recent studies of viral-synthetic hybrid vectors, we report the effects of serum on the formation, activity and stability of PEI/M-VLP complexes. Methods: M-VLP were produced by cells grown in serum-supplemented media (M-VLP-S), serum-free media (M-VLP-SF) or serum-free Opti-MEM® I (M-VLP-OM). PEI/M-VLP stoichiometry was varied to investigate complex formation and optimal transfection conditions. The effects of prolonged storage, freeze-thaw cycles, and ultracentrifugation of M-VLP on the stability of vector transduction efficiency were also observed. Results: M-VLP-S required more PEI to form infective complexes than M-VLP-SF and M-VLP-OM. The stoichiometry of PEI/M-VLP-S was dependent on total PEI concentration (7-8 μg/100 μL M-VLP supernatant), while optimal infectivity of PEI/M-VLP-SF and PEI/M-VLP-OM depended on PEI/M-VLP ratios (12-17 μg and 10-14 μg PEI/109 M-VLP, respectively). PEI/M-VLP-SF and PEI/M-VLP-OM complexes were significantly more efficient than PEI/M-VLP-S. Stability of the hybrid vectors was not significantly affected by serum. Conclusions: PEI/M-VLP complexes exhibiting increased efficiency were constructed by producing M-VLP in serum-free media. M-VLP could be stored by freezing or refrigeration and concentrated by ultracentrifugation without unacceptable loss of infectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2457-2465
Number of pages9
JournalPharmaceutical Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • gene delivery
  • hybrid vectors
  • murine leukemia virus
  • polyethylenimine
  • virus-like particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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