[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sleeping Beauty transposon (SB-Tn) has emerged as an important nonviral vector for integrating transgenes into mammalian genomes. We report here a novel dual fluorescent reporter cis SB-Tn system that permitted nonselective fluorescent-activated cell sorting for SB-Tn-transduced K562 erythroid cells. Using an internal ribosome entry site element, the green fluorescent protein (eGFP) was linked to the SB10 transposase gene as an indirect marker for the robust expression of SB10 transposase. Flourescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) by eGFP resulted in significant enrichment (>60%) of cells exhibiting SB-Tn-mediated genomic insertions and long-term expression of a DsRed transgene. The hybrid erythroid-specific promoter of DsRed transgene was verified in erythroid or megakaryocyte differentiation of K562 cells. Bisulfite-mediated genomic analyses identified different DNA methylation patterns between DsRed(+) and DsRed(-) cell clones, suggesting a critical role in transgene expression. Moreover, although the host genomic copy of the promoter element showed no CpG methylation, the same sequence carried by the transgene was markedly hypermethylated. Additional evidence also suggested a role for histone deacetylation in the regulation of DsRed transgene. The presence of SB transgene affected the expression of neighboring host genes at distances >45 kb. Our data suggested that a fluorescent reporter cis SB-Tn system can be used to enrich mammalian cells harboring SB-mediated transgene insertions. The observed epigenetic changes also demonstrated that transgenes inserted by SB could be selectively modified by endogenous factors. In addition, long-range activation of host genes must now be recognized as a potential consequence of an inserted transgene cassette containing enhancer elements.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sickle cell disease (SCD) results predominately from a single monogenic mutation that affects thousands of individuals worldwide. Gene therapy approaches have focused on using viral vectors to transfer wild-type beta- or gamma-globin transgenes into hematopoietic stem cells for long-term expression of the recombinant globins. In this study, we investigated the use of a novel nonviral vector system, the Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon (Tn) to insert a wild-type beta-globin expression cassette into the human genome for sustained expression of beta-globin. We initially constructed a beta-globin expression vector composed of the hybrid cytomegalovirus (CMV) enhancer chicken beta-actin promoter (CAGGS) and full-length beta-globin cDNA, as well as truncated forms lacking either the 3' or 3' and 5' untranslated regions (UTRs), to optimize expression of beta-globin. Beta-globin with its 5' UTR was efficiently expressed from its cDNA in K-562 cells induced with hemin. However, expression was constitutive and not erythroid-specific. We then constructed cis SB-Tn-beta-globin plasmids using a minimal beta-globin gene driven by hybrid promoter IHK (human ALAS2 intron 8 erythroid-specific enhancer, HS40 core element from human alphaLCR, ankyrin-1 promoter), IHbetap (human ALAS2 intron 8 erythroid-specific enhancer, HS40 core element from human alphaLCR, beta-globin promoter), or HS3betap (HS3 core element from human betaLCR, beta-globin promoter) to establish erythroid-specific expression of beta-globin. Stable genomic insertion of the minimal gene and expression of the beta-globin transgene for >5 months at a level comparable to that of the endogenous gamma-globin gene were achieved using a SB-Tn beta-globin cis construct. Interestingly, erythroid-specific expression of beta-globin driven by IHK was regulated primarily at the translational level, in contrast to post-transcriptional regulation in non-erythroid cells. The SB-Tn system is a promising nonviral vector for efficient genomic insertion conferring stable, persistent erythroid-specific expression of beta-globin.