Site-directed transposon integration in human cells.

Department of Pediatrics and Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5208, USA.
Nucleic Acids Research (Impact Factor: 8.81). 02/2007; 35(7):e50. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkm089
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon is a promising gene transfer vector that integrates nonspecifically into host cell genomes. Herein, we attempt to direct transposon integration into predetermined DNA sites by coupling a site-specific DNA-binding domain (DBD) to the SB transposase. We engineered fusion proteins comprised of a hyperactive SB transposase (HSB5) joined via a variable-length linker to either end of the polydactyl zinc-finger protein E2C, which binds a unique sequence on human chromosome 17. Although DBD linkage to the C-terminus of SB abolished activity in a human cell transposition assay, the N-terminal addition of the E2C or Gal4 DBD did not. Molecular analyses indicated that these DBD-SB fusion proteins retained DNA-binding specificity for their respective substrate molecules and were capable of mediating bona fide transposition reactions. We also characterized transposon integrations in the presence of the E2C-SB fusion protein to determine its potential to target predefined DNA sites. Our results indicate that fusion protein-mediated tethering can effectively redirect transposon insertion site selection in human cells, but suggest that stable docking of integration complexes may also partially interfere with the cut-and-paste mechanism. These findings illustrate the feasibility of directed transposon integration and highlight potential means for future development.

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    ABSTRACT: Gene vectors derived from DNA transposable elements have become powerful molecular tools in biomedical research and are slowly moving into the clinic as carriers of therapeutic genes. Conventional uses of DNA transposon-based gene vehicles rely on the intracellular production of the transposase protein from transfected nucleic acids. The transposase mediates mobilization of the DNA transposon, which is typically provided in the context of plasmid DNA. In recent work, we established lentiviral protein transduction from Gag precursors as a new strategy for direct delivery of the transposase protein. Inspired by the natural properties of infecting viruses to carry their own enzymes, we loaded lentivirus-derived particles not only with vector genomes carrying the DNA transposon vector but also with hundreds of transposase subunits. Such particles were found to drive efficient transposition of the piggyBac transposable element in a range of different cell types, including primary cells, and offer a new transposase delivery approach that guarantees short-term activity and limits potential cytotoxicity. DNA transposon vectors, originally developed and launched as a non-viral alternative to viral integrating vectors, have truly become viral. Here, we briefly review our findings and speculate on the perspectives and potential advantages of transposase delivery by lentiviral protein transduction.
    Mobile genetic elements. 01/2014; 4:e29591.
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    ABSTRACT: The reaction of DNA transposition begins when the transposase enzyme binds to the transposon DNA. Sleeping Beauty is a member of the mariner family of DNA transposons. Although it is an important tool in genetic applications and has been adapted for human gene therapy, its molecular mechanism remains obscure. Here, we show that only the folded conformation of the specific DNA recognition subdomain of the Sleeping Beauty transposase, the PAI subdomain, binds to the transposon DNA. Furthermore, we show that the PAI subdomain is well folded at low temperatures, but the presence of unfolded conformation gradually increases at temperatures above 15°C, suggesting that the choice of temperature may be important for the optimal transposase activity. Overall, the results provide a molecular-level insight into the DNA recognition by the Sleeping Beauty transposase.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(11):e112114. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ability of retroviruses and transposons to insert their genome into the host cell makes them attractive objects for constructing gene therapy vectors. However, enzymes that insert genetic material do not possess any selectivity relative to target nucleotide sequences, which results in almost random DNA insertion into the recipient cell genome. This leads to mutations that in turn may cause certain undesirable consequences and sometimes neoplastic cell transformation. For successful functioning, it is a primary necessity to modify a retrovirus and transposon based genetic therapy systems in such a way that the directed vector integration into a target sequence in the human genome can be achieved. In this review, the approaches to date that have been developed for highly specific modification of the genome using fusion protein construction based on retroviral integrases and transposases are discussed, as well as cellular factors interacting with these enzymes.
    Molecular Biology 45(6). · 0.74 Impact Factor

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