Smooth muscle-specific gene delivery in the vasculature based on restriction of DNA nuclear import. Academic Article uri icon


  • The two currently employed approaches restricting gene delivery and/or expression to desired cell types in vivo rely on cell surface targeting or cell-specific promoters. We have developed a third approach based on cell-specific nuclear transport of the delivered plasmid DNA. We have previously shown that plasmid nuclear import in non-dividing cells is sequence-specific and have identified a set of cell-specific DNA nuclear targeting sequences that can be used to limit DNA nuclear import to desired cell types. Specifically we have identified elements of the smooth muscle gamma actin (SMGA) promoter that direct plasmid nuclear import selectively in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) in vitro (Vacik et al, 1999, Gene Therapy 6:1006-1014). In the present study, we demonstrate that the SMC-specific DNA nuclear targeting sequence from the SMGA promoter drives nuclear accumulation of plasmids and subsequent gene expression exclusively in the smooth muscle cell layer of the vessel wall in the intact vasculature of rats using electroporation mediated delivery. These results demonstrate that certain DNA nuclear targeting sequences can be used to restrict DNA nuclear import to specific cell types providing a new, novel means of cell targeting for gene therapy.

published proceedings

  • Exp Biol Med (Maywood)

author list (cited authors)

  • Young, J. L., Zimmer, W. E., & Dean, D. A.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Young, Jennifer L||Zimmer, Warren E||Dean, David A

publication date

  • July 2008