Surface-mediated gene transfer systems using apatite (Ap)-based composite layers have received increased attention in tissue engineering applications owing to their safety, biocompatibility and relatively high efficiency. In this study, DNA-antibody-apatite composite layers (DA-Ap layers), in which DNA and antibody molecules are immobilized within a matrix of apatite nanocrystals, were fabricated using a biomimetic coating process. They were then assayed for their gene transfer capability for application in a specific cell-targeted gene transfer. A DA-Ap layer that was fabricated with an anti-CD49f antibody showed a higher gene transfer capability to the CD49f-positive CHO-K1 cells than a DNA-apatite composite layer (D-Ap layer). The antibody facilitated the gene transfer capability of the DA-Ap layer only to the specific cells that were expressing corresponding antigens. When the DA-Ap layer was fabricated with an anti-N-cadherin antibody, a higher gene transfer capability compared with the D-Ap layer was found in the N-cadherin-positive P19CL6 cells, but not in the N-cadherin-negative UV♀2 cells or in the P19CL6 cells that were pre-blocked with anti-N-cadherin. Therefore, the antigen-antibody binding that takes place at the cell-layer interface should be responsible for the higher gene transfer capability of the DA-Ap than D-Ap layer. These results suggest that the DA-Ap layer works as a mediator in a specific cell-targeted gene transfer system.
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