Characterisation of LMD virus-like nanoparticles self-assembled from cationic liposomes, adenovirus core peptide μ (mu) and plasmid DNA

T. Tagawa, M. Manvell, N. Brown, M. Keller, E. Perouzel, Karl D Murray, R. P. Harbottle, M. Tecle, F. Booy, M. C. Brahimi-Horn, C. Coutelle, N. R. Lemoine, E. W F W Alton, A. D. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Liposome:mu:DNA (LMD) is a ternary nucleic acid delivery system built around the μ (mu) peptide associated with the condensed core complex of the adenovirus. LMD is prepared by precondensing plasmid DNA (D) with mu peptide (M) in a 1:0.6 (w/w) ratio and then combining these mu:DNA (MD) complexes with extruded cationic liposomes (L) resulting in a final lipid:mu:DNA ratio of 12:0.6:1 (w/w/w). Correct buffer conditions, reagent concentrations and rates of mixing are all crucial to success. However, once optimal conditions are established, homogeneous LMD particles (120 ± 30 nm) will result that each appear to comprise an MD particle encapsulated within a cationic bilammellar liposome. LMD particles can be formulated reproducibly, they are amenable to long-term storage (>1 month) at -80°C and are stable to aggregation at a plasmid DNA concentration up to 5 mg/ml (15 mM nucleotide concentration). Furthermore, LMD transfections are significantly more time and dose efficient in vitro than cationic liposome-plasmid DNA (LD) transfections. Transfection times as short as 10 min and plasmid DNA doses as low as 0.001 μg/well result in significant gene expression. LMD transfections will also take place in the presence of biological fluids (eg up to 100% serum) giving 15-25% the level of gene expression observed in the absence of serum. Results from confocal microscopy experiments using fluorescent-labelled LMD particles suggest that endocytosis is not a significant barrier to LMD transfection, although the nuclear membrane still is. We also confirm that topical lung transfection in vivo by LMD is at least equal in absolute terms with transfection mediated by GL-67:DOPE:DMPE-PEG5000 (1:2:0.05 m/m/m), an accepted 'gold-standard' non-viral vector system for topical lung transfection, and is in fact at least six-fold more dose efficient. All these features make LMD an important new non-viral vector platform system from which to derive tailor-made non-viral delivery systems by a process of systematic modular upgrading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-576
Number of pages13
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenovirus
  • Cationic lipids
  • Cationic liposomes
  • mu peptide
  • Non-viral gene therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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