Producing genetically engineered macrophages with enhanced immunity via microinjection

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)538-547
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience
Issue number3
Online published25 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


Many virus-mediated and chemical-based methods for delivering foreign genes into target cells, such as recombinant lentivirus transfection and cationic lipid transfection, are remarkably challenging to use on immune cells because of low efficiency and high toxicity. Microinjection is a promising method to deliver foreign gene expression plasmids into single macrophages directly. This paper reports a new method that can be used to produce a genetically engineered macrophage cell line with enhanced immunity through a home-made high-throughput microinjection system. Microinjection of the expression plasmid carrying a mouse-derived toll-like receptor 4 (Tlr4) gene into a mouse macrophage cell line (Raw264.7) can construct a new stable cell line overexpressing the target gene. The expression efficiency of the target gene in the injected Raw264.7 cells reached 90%, which was measured by injecting a particular plasmid carrying a fused enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) gene fragment with the Tlr4 gene and counting the proportion of cells that emitted green fluorescence. Further assessment of the messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein produced by the Tlr4 gene indicated that its expression was up-regulated remarkably in successfully injected cells. The expression of downstream genes of Tlr4 in injected cells was higher than in untouched cells. Microinjection can avoid polarization effects, which are common when traditional transfection methods are used. A case study was conducted to verify that the injected macrophages overexpressing Tlr4 could activate downstream signaling pathways and showed enhanced inhibition effect on tumor cell migration and invasion. The success of this research will verify that microinjection can be an efficient and safe method in cell transfection applications.

Research Area(s)

  • DNA, Immune system, Microinjection, Protein engineering, Proteins, Tumors, Viruses (medical)