Various cases of DNA (RNA) transfer through membranes of living cells are reviewed. They are classified into two major categories: those which occur in Nature (natural transfer) and those imposed by various physical and chemical treatments of cells (induced transfer).
Among the examples of natural transfer surveyed are the transfer during bacterial conjugation, genetic transformation, viral infection of bacteria, and nuclear membrane trafficking. Consideration of the induced transfer is focused on the two methods most widely used at present to introduce foreign genetic information into pro- and eukaryotic cells: Ca2- (and some other divalent cations)-induced and calcium phosphate-induced transfer, and transfer during electroporation of cells.
Emphasis is made on the underlying mechanisms of transfer, or rather on what is currently known about them. Energetic aspects of transfer are also discussed and different tentative models of transfer are presented.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/alexander_sabelnikov/12/