Reduced genotoxicity of avian sarcoma leukosis virus vectors in rhesus long-term repopulating cells compared to standard murine retrovirus vectors.
ABSTRACT: Insertional mutagenesis continues to be a major concern in hematopoietic stem-cell gene therapy. Nonconventional gene transfer vectors with more favorable integration features in comparison with conventional retrovirus and lentivirus vectors are being developed and optimized. In this study, we report for the first time a systematic analysis of 198 avian sarcoma leukosis virus (ASLV) insertion sites identified in rhesus long-term repopulating cells, and a comparison of ASLV insertion patterns to Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV) (n = 396) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) (n = 289) using the newly released rhesus genome databank. Despite a weak preference toward gene-coding regions, ASLV integration is nonclustered, does not favor gene-rich regions, transcription start sites, or CpG islands. There was no propensity for ASLV insertions within or near proto-oncogenes, and most importantly, no insertions close to or within the Mds1-Evi1 locus, which is in contrast to the significant over-representation of this insertion site for MLV vectors in the same transplantation model. Furthermore, ASLV long terminal repeats (LTRs) do not have detectable promoter and enhancer activity in a quantitative luciferase assay to measure neighboring gene activation. The combination of these features is unique for ASLV and suggests that optimized vectors based on this virus could be useful and safe for gene transfer to hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells.
Project description:Murine leukemia virus (MLV)-derived vectors are widely used for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene transfer, but lentiviral vectors such as the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) may allow higher efficiency transfer and better expression. Recent studies in cell lines have challenged the notion that retroviruses and retroviral vectors integrate randomly into their host genome. Medical applications using these vectors are aimed at HSCs, and thus large-scale comprehensive analysis of MLV and SIV integration in long-term repopulating HSCs is crucial to help develop improved integrating vectors. We studied integration sites in HSCs of rhesus monkeys that had been transplanted 6 mo to 6 y prior with MLV- or SIV-transduced CD34(+)cells. Unique MLV (491) and SIV (501) insertions were compared to a set of in silico-generated random integration sites. While MLV integrants were located predominantly around transcription start sites, SIV integrants strongly favored transcription units and gene-dense regions of the genome. These integration patterns suggest different mechanisms for integration as well as distinct safety implications for MLV versus SIV vectors.
Project description:Adverse events linked to perturbations of cellular genes by vector insertion reported in gene therapy trials and animal models have prompted attempts to better understand the mechanisms directing viral vector integration. The integration profiles of vectors based on MLV, ASLV, SIV and HIV have all been shown to be non-random, and novel vectors with a safer integration pattern have been sought. Recently, we developed a producer cell line called CatPac that packages standard MoMLV vectors with feline leukemia virus (FeLV) gag, pol and env gene products. We now report the integration profile of this vector, asking if the FeLV integrase and capsid proteins could modify the MoMLV integration profile, potentially resulting in a less genotoxic pattern. We transduced rhesus macaque CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells with CatPac or standard MoMLV vectors, and determined their integration profile by LAM-PCR. We obtained 184 and 175 unique integration sites (ISs) respectively for CatPac and standard MoMLV vectors, and these were compared with 10 000 in silico-generated random IS. The integration profile for CatPac vector was similar to MoMLV and equally non-random, with a propensity for integration near transcription start sites and in highly dense gene regions. We found an IS for CatPac vector localized 715 nucleotides upstream of LMO-2, the gene involved in the acute lymphoblastic leukemia developed by X-SCID patients treated by gene therapy using MoMLV vectors. In conclusion, we found that replacement of MoMLV env, gag and pol gene products with FeLV did not alter the basic integration profile. Thus, there appears to be no safety advantage for this packaging system. However, considering the stability and efficacy of CatPac vectors, further development is warranted, using potentially safer vector backbones, for instance those with a SIN configuration.
Project description:Individual groups of retroviruses and retroviral vectors differ in their integration site preference and interaction with the host genome. Hence, immediately after infection genome-wide distribution of integrated proviruses is non-random. During long-term in vitro or persistent in vivo infection, the genomic position and chromatin environment of the provirus affects its transcriptional activity. Thus, a selection of long-term stably expressed proviruses and elimination of proviruses, which have been gradually silenced by epigenetic mechanisms, helps in the identification of genomic compartments permissive for proviral transcription. We compare here the extent and time course of provirus silencing in single cell clones of the K562 human myeloid lymphoblastoma cell line that have been infected with retroviral reporter vectors derived from avian sarcoma/leukosis virus (ASLV), human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) and murine leukaemia virus (MLV). While MLV proviruses remain transcriptionally active, ASLV proviruses are prone to rapid silencing. The HIV provirus displays gradual silencing only after an extended time period in culture. The analysis of integration sites of long-term stably expressed proviruses shows a strong bias for some genomic features-especially integration close to the transcription start sites of active transcription units. Furthermore, complex analysis of histone modifications enriched at the site of integration points to the accumulation of proviruses of all three groups in gene regulatory segments, particularly close to the enhancer loci. We conclude that the proximity to active regulatory chromatin segments correlates with stable provirus expression in various retroviral species.
Project description:We previously reported that lentiviral vectors derived from the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) were efficient at transducing rhesus hematopoietic repopulating cells. To evaluate the persistence of vector-containing and -expressing cells long term, and the safety implications of SIV lentiviral vector-mediated gene transfer, we followed 3 rhesus macaques for more than 4 years after transplantation with transduced CD34+ cells. All 3 animals demonstrated significant vector marking and expression of the GFP transgene in T cells, B cells, and granulocytes, with mean GFP+ levels of 6.7% (range, 3.3%-13.0%), 7.4% (4.2%-13.4%), and 5.6% (3.1%-10.5%), respectively. There was no vector silencing in hematopoietic cells over time. Vector insertion site analysis of granulocytes demonstrated sustained highly polyclonal reconstitution, with no evidence for progression to oligoclonality. A significant number of clones were found to contribute at both 1-year and 3- or 4-year time points. No vector integrations were detected in the MDS1/EVI1 region, in contrast to our previous findings with a gamma-retroviral vector. These data show that lentiviral vectors can mediate stable and efficient long-term expression in the progeny of transduced hematopoietic stem cells, with an integration profile that may be safer than that of standard Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV)-derived retroviral vectors.
Project description:The completion of the human genome sequence has made possible genome-wide studies of retroviral DNA integration. Here we report an analysis of 3,127 integration site sequences from human cells. We compared retroviral vectors derived from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), avian sarcoma-leukosis virus (ASLV), and murine leukemia virus (MLV). Effects of gene activity on integration targeting were assessed by transcriptional profiling of infected cells. Integration by HIV vectors, analyzed in two primary cell types and several cell lines, strongly favored active genes. An analysis of the effects of tissue-specific transcription showed that it resulted in tissue-specific integration targeting by HIV, though the effect was quantitatively modest. Chromosomal regions rich in expressed genes were favored for HIV integration, but these regions were found to be interleaved with unfavorable regions at CpG islands. MLV vectors showed a strong bias in favor of integration near transcription start sites, as reported previously. ASLV vectors showed only a weak preference for active genes and no preference for transcription start regions. Thus, each of the three retroviruses studied showed unique integration site preferences, suggesting that virus-specific binding of integration complexes to chromatin features likely guides site selection.
Project description:Moloney murine leukemia virus (MLV)-derived gamma-retroviral vectors integrate preferentially near transcriptional regulatory regions in the human genome, and are associated with a significant risk of insertional gene deregulation. Self-inactivating (SIN) vectors carry a deletion of the U3 enhancer and promoter in the long terminal repeat (LTR), and show reduced genotoxicity in pre-clinical assays. We report a high-definition analysis of the integration preferences of a SIN MLV vector compared to a wild-type-LTR MLV vector in the genome of CD34(+) human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). We sequenced 13,011 unique SIN-MLV integration sites and compared them to 32,574 previously generated MLV sites in human HSPCs. The SIN-MLV vector recapitulates the integration pattern observed for MLV, with the characteristic clustering of integrations around enhancer and promoter regions associated to H3K4me3 and H3K4me1 histone modifications, specialized chromatin configurations (presence of the H2A.Z histone variant) and binding of RNA Pol II. SIN-MLV and MLV integration clusters and hot spots overlap in most cases and are generated at a comparable frequency, indicating that the reduced genotoxicity of SIN-MLV vectors in hematopoietic cells is not due to a modified integration profile.
Project description:Retroviral vectors have shown their curative potential in clinical trials correcting monogenetic disorders. However, therapeutic benefits were compromised due to vector-induced dysregulation of cellular genes and leukemia development in a subset of patients. Bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins act as cellular cofactors that tether the murine leukemia virus (MLV) pre-integration complex to host chromatin via interaction with the MLV integrase (IN) and thereby define the typical gammaretroviral integration distribution. We engineered next-generation BET-independent (Bin) MLV vectors to retarget their integration to regions where they are less likely to dysregulate nearby genes. We mutated MLV IN to uncouple BET protein interaction and fused it with chromatin-binding peptides. The addition of the CBX1 chromodomain to MLV INW390A efficiently targeted integration away from gene regulatory elements. The retargeted vector produced at high titers and efficiently transduced CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells, while fewer colonies were detected in a serial colony-forming assay, a surrogate test for genotoxicity. Our findings underscore the potential of the engineered vectors to reduce the risk of insertional mutagenesis without compromising transduction efficiency. Ultimately, combined with other safety features in vector design, next-generation BinMLV vectors can improve the safety of gammaretroviral vectors for gene therapy.
Project description:Integration of retroviral vectors in the human genome follows non random patterns that favor insertional deregulation of gene expression and may cause risks of insertional mutagenesis when used in clinical gene therapy. Understanding how viral vectors integrate into the human genome is a key issue in predicting these risks. We provide a new statistical method to compare retroviral integration patterns. We identified the positions where vectors derived from the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus (MLV) show different integration behaviors in human hematopoietic progenitor cells. Non-parametric density estimation was used to identify candidate comparative hotspots, which were then tested and ranked. We found 100 significative comparative hotspots, distributed throughout the chromosomes. HIV hotspots were wider and contained more genes than MLV ones. A Gene Ontology analysis of HIV targets showed enrichment of genes involved in antigen processing and presentation, reflecting the high HIV integration frequency observed at the MHC locus on chromosome 6. Four histone modifications/variants had a different mean density in comparative hotspots (H2AZ, H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K9me1), while gene expression within the comparative hotspots did not differ from background. These findings suggest the existence of epigenetic or nuclear three-dimensional topology contexts guiding retroviral integration to specific chromosome areas.
Project description:Stable integration in the host genome renders murine leukemia virus (MLV)-derived vectors attractive tools for gene therapy. Adverse events in otherwise successful clinical trials caused by proto-oncogene activation due to vector integration hamper their application. MLV and MLV-based vectors integrate near strong enhancers, active promoters, and transcription start sites (TSS) through specific interaction of MLV integrase (IN) with the bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family of proteins, accounting for insertional mutagenesis. We identified a BET-interaction motif in the C-terminal tail of MLV IN conserved among gammaretroviruses. By deletion of this motif or a single point mutation (INW390A), BET-independent MLV (BinMLV) were engineered. BinMLV vectors carrying INW390A integrate at wild-type efficiency, with an integration profile that no longer correlates with BET chromatin distribution nor with the traditional markers of MLV integration. In particular, BinMLV vector integration associated less with oncogene TSS compared to the MLV vectors currently used in clinical trials. Together, these findings open perspectives to increase the biosafety of gammaretroviral vectors for gene therapy.
Project description:DNA transposons and retroviruses are versatile tools in functional genomics and gene therapy. To facilitate their application, we conducted a genome-wide insertion site profiling of the piggyBac (PB), Tol2 and Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposons and the murine leukemia virus (MLV) in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). PB and MLV preferred highly expressed genes, whereas Tol2 and SB preferred weakly expressed genes. However, correlations with DNase I hypersensitive sites were different for all vectors, indicating that chromatin accessibility is not the sole determinant. Therefore, we analysed various chromatin states. PB and MLV highly correlated with Cohesin, Mediator and ESC-specific transcription factors. Notably, CTCF sites were correlated with PB but not with MLV, suggesting MLV prefers smaller promoter-enhancer loops, whereas PB insertion encompasses larger chromatin loops termed topologically associating domains. Tol2 also correlated with Cohesin and CTCF. However, correlations with ESC-specific transcription factors were weaker, suggesting that Tol2 prefers transcriptionally weak chromatin loops. Consistently, Tol2 insertions were associated with bivalent histone modifications characteristic of silent and inducible loci. SB showed minimum preference to all chromatin states, suggesting the least adverse effect on adjacent genes. These results will be useful for vector selection for various applications.