Extracellular vesicles incorporating retrovirus-like capsids for the enhanced packaging and systemic delivery of mRNA into neurons

Wenchao Gu, Sijin Luozhong, Simian Cai, Ketaki Londhe, Nadine Elkasri, Robert Hawkins, Zhefan Yuan, Kai Su-Greene, Yujie Yin, Margaret Cruz, Yu-Wei Chang, Patrick McMullen, Chunyan Wu, Changwoo Seo, Akash Guru, Wenting Gao, Tara Sarmiento, Chris Schaffer, Nozomi Nishimura, Richard Cerione, Qiuming Yu, Melissa Warden, Robert Langer, Shaoyi Jiang

Nature Biomedical Engineering (2024)

 View Abstract

The blood–brain barrier (BBB) restricts the systemic delivery of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) into diseased neurons. Although leucocyte-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) can cross the BBB at inflammatory sites, it is difficult to efficiently load long mRNAs into the EVs and to enhance their neuronal uptake. Here we show that the packaging of mRNA into leucocyte-derived EVs and the endocytosis of the EVs by neurons can be enhanced by engineering leucocytes to produce EVs that incorporate retrovirus-like mRNA-packaging capsids. We transfected immortalized and primary bone-marrow-derived leucocytes with DNA or RNA encoding the capsid-forming activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated (Arc) protein as well as capsid-stabilizing Arc 5’-untranslated-region RNA elements. These engineered EVs inherit endothelial adhesion molecules from donor leukocytes, recruit endogenous enveloping proteins to their surface, cross the BBB, and enter the neurons in neuro-inflammatory sites. Produced from self-derived donor leukocytes, the EVs are immunologically inert, and enhanced the neuronal uptake of the packaged mRNA in a mouse model of low-grade chronic neuro-inflammation.

 Full Access

Intravital Multiphoton Microscopy Captures Dynamics of the Beating Heart

Anne Buglione, Nozomi Nishimura

Photonics Spectra (2024)

 View Abstract

Advanced imaging shows the mouse heart as it pumps, leading to insights into cardiac physiology and disease genesis.

 Full Access

MousePZT: A simple, reliable, low-cost device for vital sign monitoring and respiratory gating in mice under anesthesia

Daniel A. Rivera, Anne E. Buglione, Sadie E. Ray, Chris B. Schaffer

PLOS ONE (2024)

 View Abstract

Small animal studies in biomedical research often require anesthesia to reduce pain or stress experienced by research animals and to minimize motion artifact during imaging or other measurements. Anesthetized animals must be closely monitored for the safety of the animals and to prevent unintended effects of altered physiology on experimental outcomes. Many currently available monitoring devices are expensive, invasive, or interfere with experimental design. Here, we present MousePZT, a low-cost device based on a simple piezoelectric sensor, with a custom circuit and computer software that allows for measurements of both respiratory rate and heart rate in a non-invasive, minimal contact manner. We find the accuracy of the MousePZT device in measuring respiratory and heart rate matches those of commercial systems. Using the widely-used gas isoflurane and injectable ketamine/xylazine combination, we also demonstrate that changes in respiratory rate are more easily detected and can precede changes in heart rate associated with variations in anesthetic depth. Additional circuitry on the device outputs a respiration-locked trigger signal for respiratory-gating of imaging or other data acquisition and has high sensitivity and specificity for detecting respiratory cycles. We provide detailed instruction documents and all necessary microcontroller and computer software, enabling straightforward construction and utilization of this device.

 Full Access

Sort by Archive Year

Sort by Principal Investigators