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  • Let's do the twist: Spiral proteins are efficient gene delivery agents

    Illinois researchers developed spiral polypeptides that can deliver DNA segments to cells with high efficiency and relatively low toxicity, a step toward clinical gene therapy. The team, from left, postdoctoral researchers Lichen Yin and Dong Li; Fei Wang, a professor of cell and developmental biology; Jianjun Cheng, a professor of materials science and engineering; and Nathan Gabrielson, a postdoctoral researcher.

    Illinois researchers developed spiral polypeptides that can deliver DNA segments to cells with high efficiency and relatively low toxicity, a step toward clinical gene therapy. The team, from left, postdoctoral researchers Lichen Yin and Dong Li; Fei Wang, a professor of cell and developmental biology; Jianjun Cheng, a professor of materials science and engineering; and Nathan Gabrielson, a postdoctoral researcher.

    Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      Illinois researchers developed spiral polypeptides that can deliver DNA segments to cells with high efficiency and relatively low toxicity, a step toward clinical gene therapy. The team, from left, postdoctoral researchers Lichen Yin and Dong Li; Fei Wang, a professor of cell and developmental biology; Jianjun Cheng, a professor of materials science and engineering; and Nathan Gabrielson, a postdoctoral researcher.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      Polymers as gene delivery agents. Helical charged polypeptides, left, deliver DNA to the cell by rupturing the endosomal membrane. Random-coil polymers, right, do not rupture the membrane, so the DNA is not released inside the cell.

      Graphic by Nathan Gabrielson

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