Lectin enhancement of the lipofection efficiency in human lung carcinoma cells

Katsunori Yanagihara, Pi Wan Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Poor transfection efficiency of human lung carcinoma cells by lipofection begs further development of more efficient gene delivery strategies. The purpose of this study was to determine whether lectins can improve the lipofection efficiency in lung carcinoma cells. A549, Calu3, and H292 cells grown to 90% confluence were transfected for 18 h with a plasmid DNA containing a β-galactosidase reporter gene (pCMVlacZ) using lipofectin plus a lectin as the vector. Ten different lectins, which exhibit a wide range of carbohydrate-binding specificities, were examined for their abilities to enhance the efficiency of lipofection. The transfected cells were assessed for transfection efficiency by β-galactosidase activity (units/μg protein) and % blue cells following X-Gal stain. Lipofectin supplemented with Griffonia simplicifolia-I (GS-I) yields largest enhancement of the lipofection efficiency in A549 and Calu3 cells (5.3- and 28-fold, respectively). Maackia amurensis gives the largest enhancement (6.5-fold) of lipofection efficiency in H292 cells. The transfection efficiency correlates with the amounts of DNA delivered to the nucleus. Binding of FITC-labeled GS- I and the enhancement of the lipofection efficiency by GS-I were inhibited by α-methyl-D-galactopyranoside, indicating an α-galactoside-mediated gene transfer to lung carcinoma cells. We conclude that lectin-facilitated lipofection is an efficient gene delivery strategy. Employment of cell type- specific lectins may allow for efficient cell type-specific gene targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-33
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 18 1999


  • Gene therapy
  • Gene transfer
  • Lectin
  • Liposome
  • Non-viral vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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