442758 Gene Delivery Using Elastin-like Polypeptides

Monday, November 9, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Carla Stephanie Colon, Chemical Engineering, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR


Gene delivery is defined as the process by which foreign DNA is transferred to host cells. Today, this technique is performed in laboratories for multiple purposes. Gene delivery methods can be divided in two groups: viral and non-­‐viral. For this re-­‐ search a cell transfection method was used, which is a non-­‐viral gene delivery method. This method used elastin-­‐like polypeptides (ELPs) as new carriers for cell transfection. The purpose of this research was to develop a gene delivery method that could be safe and efficient. The experiment consists of 7 steps that include: ligation of ELP and Gene, bacteria transformation, bacteria growth, sequencing, transformation to E. Coli protein expression, purification and cell transfection. Also two assays were performed to the ELPs to study their characteristics: inverse phase transition assay and dynamic light scattering. An electrophoresis test was also performed to confirm ELP and DNA attachment. Finally, the results of cell transfection showed that ELP’s are successful carriers for gene delivery but with low efficiencies. There is still much to research on this field, but definitively ELPs could be a good gene delivery method in a near future by improving their efficiencies, since they have already shown extraordinary characteristics such as biodegradability, biocompatibility, precise control of composition, and lack of toxicity. 

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