The announcement of being able to achieve a higher than 14-15 percent
transfection efficiency with low mortality in motor neurons is very exciting
news—not just for ALS researchers, but for anyone studying motor neuron-based biology. One of our issues with doing studies in primary mouse motor
neurons is having a high enough transfection efficiency, with sufficient
viability to conduct meaningful studies with more than just a handful of
transfected motor neurons.
The methodology described by these authors would be easier to implement in a general lab where there are safety concerns and special protocols that must be followed when working with lentiviral infection, which is the current system for moving transgenes to these cells. This methodology does not employ an infectious agent. This is extremely attractive, at least in Canada, where very specific regulations and protocols for lentivirus use exist.
That the authors can use this with silencing experiments as well is encouraging.
Knockdown levels do not seem to be very high, a common problem with silencing in many cell...