Live-cell imaging to compare the transfection and gene silencing efficiency of calcium phosphate nanoparticles and a liposomal transfection agent

The processing of DNA (for transfection) and short interfering RNA (siRNA; for gene silencing), introduced into HeLa cells by triple-shell calcium phosphate nanoparticles, was followed by live-cell imaging. For comparison, the commercial liposomal transfection agent Lipofectamine was used. The cells were incubated with these delivery systems, carrying either enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP)-encoding DNA or siRNA against eGFP. In the latter case, HeLa cells that stably expressed eGFP were used. The expression of eGFP started after 5 h in the case of nanoparticles and after 4 h in the case of Lipofectamine. The corresponding times for gene silencing were 5 h (nanoparticles) and immediately after incubation (Lipofectamine). The expression of eGFP was notably enhanced 2–3 h after cell division (mitosis). In general, the transfection and gene silencing efficiencies of the nanoparticles were lower than those of Lipofectamime, even at a substantially higher dose (factor 20) of nucleic acids. However, the cytotoxicity of the nanoparticles was lower than that of Lipofectamine, making them suitable vectors for in vivo application.


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