Transfection of DNA into eukaryotic cells is a common method to study biological mechanisms. A major goal is the efficient and specific delivery of genes into the desired target cells. Although a wide panel of techniques and vectors (viral and nonviral) have been developed that work with variable efficiency, most vectors lack a target cell specificity. Nonviral vectors are attractive because of their ease of manipulation, safety and high flexibility in the size of the delivered transgene. The Transferrinfection is a high-efficiency nucleic acid delivery system based on transferrin receptor-mediated endocytosis to carry DNA into cells. Furthermore it was shown that the cationic polymer polyethylenimine (PEI) mediates efficient gene transfer into a variety of cells. In the Polyethylenimine-Transferrinfection system the gene transfer efficiency of PEI/DNA complexes are combined with the specific mechanism of receptor-mediated endocytosis via Transferrin receptor.
The method results in a 30 - 1000-fold enhanced transfection efficiency depending on the cell line. It is an extremely gentle DNA transfection method whichemploys physiological uptake mechanisms of the cell. Transfection efficacy depends on the cell type, the level of surface transferrin receptor expression. Very high transfection rates have been shown for the tested tumor cell lines B16F10 melanoma, Neuro 2A neuroblastoma and a variety of primary human melanoma cell lines. In other established cell lines, such as HeLa, CHO, Jurkat, K562, HepG2 and COS the PEI-Transferrinfection works with high efficiences, excellent reproducibility and with the advantage of being an extremely gentle procedure.