paper "TGase-mediated cell membrane modification and targeted cell delivery to inflammatory endothelium" has been reported on Biomaterials. Congratulations to Chunxiao and Yuhong!
Targeted cell delivery to lesion sites via minimally invasive approach remains an unmet need in regenerative medicine to endow controlled cell distribution and minimized side-effects. Current cell modification approaches to improve cell delivery tend to have adverse effects on cellular phenotype and functionality. Here, we rationally developed a facile and mild cell modification and targeted delivery strategy leveraging endogenous tissue transglutaminase (TGase) expressed on the surface of MSCs (Mesenchymal Stem Cells) and inflammatory endothelial cells (ECs). Cell modification by functional peptides was accomplished simply via TGase catalyzed cross-linking with naturally-expressed MSCs membrane proteins (e.g. Annexin II), without detectable disturbance of cellular viability and functionality. The modified functional peptides could facilitate adhesion of MSCs to inflammatory ECs (with up-regulated TGase expression compared with normal ECs) in vitro, as demonstrated by a one-fold increase of the MSC-EC adhesion force measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and by targeted delivery of modified MSC to inflammatory ECs in a flow chamber assay. When transplanted in vivo, modified MSCs demonstrated a dramatic increase in targeted efficiency to inflammatory endothelium compared with non-modified MSCs in both mice ear inflammation and acute/chronic liver injury models. The cell membrane modification strategy and targeted cell delivery mechanism described here can be readily extended for empowering cell engineering and cell therapy with multifaceted functionalities to combat refractory diseases.