Evolving phage vectors for cell targeted gene delivery

D Larocca, MA Burg, K Jensen-Pergakes, EP Ravey, Ana Gonzalez, Andrew Baird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)


We adapted filamentous phage vectors for targeted gene delivery to mammalian cells by inserting a mammalian reporter gene expression cassette (GFP) into the vector backbone and fusing the pIII coat protein to a cell targeting ligand (i.e. FGF2, EGF). Like transfection with animal viral vectors, targeted phage gene delivery is concentration, time, and ligand dependent. Importantly, targeted phage particles are specific for the appropriate target cell surface receptor. Phage have distinct advantages over existing gene therapy vectors because they are simple, economical to produce at high titer, have no intrinsic tropism for mammalian cells, and are relatively simple to genetically modify and evolve. Initially transduction by targeted phage particles was low resulting in foreign gene expression in 1-2% of transfected cells. We increased transduction efficiency by modifying both the transfection protocol and vector design. For example, we stabilized the display of the targeting ligand to create multivalent phagemid-based vectors with transduction efficiencies of up to 45% in certain cell lines when combined with genotoxic treatment. Taken together, these studies establish that the efficiency of phage-mediated gene transfer can be significantly improved through genetic modification. We are currently evolving phage vectors with enhanced cell targeting, increased stability, reduced immunogenicity and other properties suitable for gene therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2002


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