Understanding of the DNA-binding characteristics of zinc-finger protein transcription factors has made it possible to design ZFPs to bind to specific target sequences and these designed ZFPs have been used effectively in cell culture experiments. In an Advanced Online Publication in Nature Medicine, Edward Rebar and colleagues report the use of engineered ZFPs as tools to stimulate angiogenesis in vivo (Nature Medicine, 4 November 2002; DOI:10.1038/nm795).

Rebar et al. designed ZFPs to regulate the gene encoding vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). Adenoviral delivery of the ZFPs into mice resulted in elevated VEGF-A expression that caused induction of angiogenesis and accelerated wound repair of the skin.

This study demonstrates the promising possibility of using designed transcription factors for specific gene therapy approaches.

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