The goal of this proposal is to develop a system for the localized, controlled, and efficient delivery of DNA from the cell culture substrate, which will transfect cells upon adhesion to the substrate. Efficient, controlled DNA delivery is a fundamental goal in biotechnology with applications to numerous therapeutic, diagnostic, and basic science applications. Substrate-mediated delivery provides a method to spatially control DNA delivery. The central hypothesis underlying this proposal is that DNA delivery to alter gene expression can be patterned through the tethering of DNA complexes to a cell adhesive substrate, which functions to retain the DNA in the cell microenvironment but allows for cell internalization. This strategy allows for DNA to be immobilized into patterns on the substrate, which will result in patterned gene expression within the cell population. This system will be developed to serve as a central technology for studies in tissue formation, and will enable numerous studies that are not currently possible. DNA is complexed with cationic polymers, a fraction of which contains functional groups for immobilization to the substrate. The tethering approach functions to ionically maintain the DNA at the substrate surface, yet allow for internalization.
The specific aims of the proposal will test the hypotheses that 1) cellular internalization of the DNA occurs by removal of the DNA from the cationic polymers that are tethered to the surface, and not the release of the complex into solution, 2) that optimal transfection results from a design that balances the need for cellular internalization with the need for substrate binding, and 3) patterned deposition of DNA encoding for neurotrophic factors can create patterns of of transfected cells that direct neurite outgrowth by primary embryonic neurons. Substrate-mediated delivery is a novel approach to DNA delivery that can be employed to spatially regulate gene transfer. Association of DNA with a substrate, which is an approach used by viruses, may enhance the in vivo applicability of non-viral DNA by preventing complex aggregation and facilitating cellular internalization. This system will provide the tools to recreate the complex patterns of gene expression that are observed within a developing tissue.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Medical Biochemistry Study Section (MEDB)
Program Officer
Jones, Warren
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northwestern University at Chicago
Engineering (All Types)
Schools of Engineering
United States
Zip Code
Houchin-Ray, Tiffany; Huang, Alyssa; West, Erin R et al. (2009) Spatially patterned gene expression for guided neurite extension. J Neurosci Res 87:844-56
des Rieux, Anne; Shikanov, Ariella; Shea, Lonnie D (2009) Fibrin hydrogels for non-viral vector delivery in vitro. J Control Release 136:148-54
Bengali, Zain; Rea, Jennifer C; Gibly, Romie F et al. (2009) Efficacy of immobilized polyplexes and lipoplexes for substrate-mediated gene delivery. Biotechnol Bioeng 102:1679-91
Rea, Jennifer C; Gibly, Romie F; Barron, Annelise E et al. (2009) Self-assembling peptide-lipoplexes for substrate-mediated gene delivery. Acta Biomater 5:903-12
Houchin-Ray, Tiffany; Zelivyanskaya, Marina; Huang, Alyssa et al. (2009) Non-viral gene delivery transfection profiles influence neuronal architecture in an in vitro co-culture model. Biotechnol Bioeng 103:1023-33
Rea, Jennifer C; Barron, Annelise E; Shea, Lonnie D (2008) Peptide-mediated lipofection is governed by lipoplex physical properties and the density of surface-displayed amines. J Pharm Sci 97:4794-806
Pannier, Angela K; Wieland, Julie A; Shea, Lonnie D (2008) Surface polyethylene glycol enhances substrate-mediated gene delivery by nonspecifically immobilized complexes. Acta Biomater 4:26-39
De Laporte, Laura; Shea, Lonnie D (2007) Matrices and scaffolds for DNA delivery in tissue engineering. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 59:292-307
Houchin-Ray, Tiffany; Whittlesey, Kevin J; Shea, Lonnie D (2007) Spatially patterned gene delivery for localized neuron survival and neurite extension. Mol Ther 15:705-12
Bengali, Zain; Rea, Jennifer C; Shea, Lonnie D (2007) Gene expression and internalization following vector adsorption to immobilized proteins: dependence on protein identity and density. J Gene Med 9:668-78

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications