Viktoriya London

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (4)40.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Rapid advances in DNA synthesis techniques have made it possible to engineer viruses, biochemical pathways and assemble bacterial genomes. Here, we report the synthesis of a functional 272,871-base pair designer eukaryotic chromosome, synIII, which is based on the 316,617-base pair native Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome III. Changes to synIII include TAG/TAA stop-codon replacements, deletion of subtelomeric regions, introns, transfer RNAs, transposons, and silent mating loci as well as insertion of loxPsym sites to enable genome scrambling. SynIII is functional in S. cerevisiae. Scrambling of the chromosome in a heterozygous diploid reveals a large increase in a-mater derivatives resulting from loss of the MATα allele on synIII. The complete design and synthesis of synIII establishes S. cerevisiae as the basis for designer eukaryotic genome biology.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Science
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    ABSTRACT: Zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) have become powerful tools to deliver a targeted double-strand break at a pre-determined chromosomal locus in order to insert an exogenous transgene by homology-directed repair. ZFN-mediated gene targeting was used to generate both single-allele chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 (CCR5)-modified human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and biallele CCR5-modified hiPSCs from human lung fibroblasts (IMR90 cells) and human primary cord blood mononuclear cells (CBMNCs) by site-specific insertion stem cell transcription factor genes flanked by LoxP sites into the endogenous CCR5 locus. The Oct4 and Sox2 reprogramming factors, in combination with valproic acid, induced reprogramming of human lung fibroblasts to form CCR5-modified hiPSCs, while 5 factors, Oct4/Sox2/Klf4/Lin28/Nanog, induced reprogramming of CBMNCs. Subsequent Cre recombinase treatment of the CCR5-modified IMR90 hiPSCs resulted in the removal of the Oct4 and Sox2 transgenes. Further genetic engineering of the single-allele CCR5-modified IMR90 hiPSCs was achieved by site-specific addition of the large CFTR transcription unit to the remaining CCR5 wild-type allele, using CCR5-specific ZFNs and a donor construct containing tdTomato and CFTR transgenes flanked by CCR5 homology arms. CFTR was expressed efficiently from the endogenous CCR5 locus of the CCR5-modified tdTomato/CFTR hiPSCs. These results suggest that it might be feasible to use ZFN-evoked strategies to (1) generate precisely targeted genetically well-defined patient-specific hiPSCs, and (2) then to reshape their function by targeted addition and expression of therapeutic genes from the CCR5 chromosomal locus for autologous cell-based transgene-correction therapy to treat various recessive monogenic human diseases in the future.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Stem cells and development
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    ABSTRACT: Recent advances in DNA synthesis technology make it possible to design and synthesize DNA fragments of several kb in size. However, the process of assembling the smaller DNA fragments into a larger DNA segment is still a cumbersome process. In this chapter, we describe the use of the uracil specific excision reaction (USER)-mediated approach for rapid and efficient assembly of multiple DNA fragments both in vitro and in vivo (using Escherichia coli). For USER fusion in vitro assembly, each of the individual building blocks (BBs), 0.75 kb in size (that are to be assembled), was amplified using the appropriate forward and reverse primers containing a single uracil (U) and DNA polymerase. The overlaps between adjoining BBs were 8-13 base pairs. An equimolar of the amplified BBs were mixed together and treated by USER enzymes to generate complementary 3' single-strand overhangs between adjoining BBs, which were then ligated and amplified simultaneously to generate the larger 3-kb segments. The assembled fragments were then cloned into plasmid vectors and sequenced to confirm their identity. For USER fusion in vivo assembly in E. coli, USER treatment of the BBs was performed in the presence of a synthetic plasmid, which had 8-13 base pair overlaps at the 5'-end of the 5' BB and at the 3'-end of the 3' BB in the mixture. The USER treated product was then transformed directly into E. coli to efficiently and correctly reconstitute the recombinant plasmid containing the desired target insert. The latter approach was also used to rapidly assemble three different target genes into a vector to form a new synthetic plasmid construct.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
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    ABSTRACT: Targeted introduction of a double-stranded break (DSB) using designer zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) in mammalian cells greatly enhances gene targeting - homologous recombination (HR) at a chosen endogenous target gene, which otherwise is limited by low spontaneous rate of HR. Here, we report that efficient ZFN-mediated gene correction occurs at a transduced, transcriptionally active, mutant GFP locus by homology-directed repair, and that efficient mutagenesis by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) occurs at the endogenous, transcriptionally silent, CCR5 locus in HEK293 Flp-In cells, using designed 3- and 4-finger ZFNs. No mutagenesis by NHEJ was observed at the CCR2 locus, which has ZFN sites that are distantly related to the targeted CCR5 sites. We also observed efficient ZFN-mediated correction of a point mutation at the endogenous mutant tyrosinase chromosomal locus in albino mouse melanocytes, using designed 3-finger ZFNs. Furthermore, re-engineered obligate heterodimer FokI nuclease domain variants appear to completely eliminate or greatly reduce the toxicity of ZFNs to mammalian cells, including human cells.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2009 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications