Efficient delivery and functional expression of transfected modified mRNA in human embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells

Magnus L. Hansson, Silvia Albert, Louisa González Somermeyer, Rubén Peco, Eva Mejía-Ramírez, Núria Montserrat, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Gene- and cell-based therapies are promising strategies for the treatment of degenerative retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, Stargardt disease, and retinitis pigmentosa. Cellular engineering before transplantation may allow the delivery of cellular factors that can promote functional improvements, such as increased engraftment or survival of transplanted cells. A current challenge in traditional DNAbased vector transfection is to find a delivery system that is both safe and efficient, but usingmRNAas an alternative toDNAcan circumvent these major roadblocks. In this study, we show that both unmodified and modified mRNA can be delivered to retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells with a high efficiency compared with conventional plasmid delivery systems. On the other hand, administration of unmodified mRNA induced a strong innate immune response that was almost absent when using modified mRNA. Importantly, transfection of mRNA encoding a key regulator of RPE gene expression, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), confirmed the functionality of the delivered mRNA. Immunostaining showed that transfection with either type ofmRNAled to the expression of roughly equal levels of MITF, primarily localized in the nucleus. Despite these findings, quantitative RT-PCR analyses showed that the activation of the expression of MITF target genes was higher following transfection with modified mRNA compared with unmodified mRNA. Our findings, therefore, show that modifiedmRNAtransfection can be applied to human embryonic stem cell-derived RPE cells and that the method is safe, efficient, and functional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5661-5672
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume290
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 27 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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