Chromosomal position effects on AAV-mediated gene targeting.
ABSTRACT: The effects of chromosomal position and neighboring genomic elements on gene targeting in human cells remain largely unexplored. To study these, we used a shuttle vector system in which murine leukemia virus (MLV)-based proviral targets present at different chromosomal locations and containing mutations in the neomycin phosphotransferase (neo) gene were corrected by adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene targeting. Sixteen identical target loci present in HT-1080 human sarcoma cells were all successfully corrected by gene targeting. The gene targeting frequencies varied by as much as 10-fold, and there was a clear bias for correction of one of the targets in clones containing two target sites. The targeting frequency at each site was correlated to the proximity and density of various genomic elements, and we found a significant association of higher targeting frequencies at loci near a subset of dinucleotide microsatellite repeats (r = -0.55, P < 0.05), in particular GT repeats (r = -0.87, P < 0.0001). Additionally, there was a correlation between meiotic recombination rates and targeting frequencies at the target loci (r = 0.52, P < 0.05). There was no correlation between surrounding chromosomal transcription units and targeting frequencies. Our results indicate that certain chromosomal positions are preferred sites for gene targeting in human cells.
Project description:Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors can transduce cells by several mechanisms, including (i) gene addition by chromosomal integration or episomal transgene expression or (ii) gene targeting by modification of homologous chromosomal sequences. The latter process can be used to correct a variety of mutations in chromosomal genes with high fidelity and specificity. In this study, we used retroviral vectors to introduce mutant alkaline phosphatase reporter genes into normal human cells and subsequently corrected these mutations with AAV gene targeting vectors. We find that increasing the length of homology between the AAV vector and the target locus improves gene correction rates, as does positioning the mutation to be corrected in the center of the AAV vector genome. AAV-mediated gene targeting increases with time and multiplicity of infection, similar to AAV-mediated gene addition. However, in contrast to gene addition, genotoxic stress did not affect gene targeting rates, suggesting that different cellular factors are involved. In the course of these studies, we found that (i) vector genomes less than half of wild-type size could be packaged as monomers or dimers and (ii) packaged dimers consist of inverted repeats with covalently closed hairpins at either end. These studies should prove helpful in designing AAV gene targeting vectors for basic research or gene therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Genome-wide ligation-based assays such as Hi-C provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the spatial organization of the genome. Results of a typical Hi-C experiment are often summarized in a chromosomal contact map, a matrix whose elements reflect the co-location frequencies of genomic loci. To elucidate the complex structural and functional interactions between those genomic loci, networks offer a natural and powerful framework. RESULTS:We propose a novel graph-theoretical framework, the Corrected Gene Proximity (CGP) map to study the effect of the 3D spatial organization of genes in transcriptional regulation. The starting point of the CGP map is a weighted network, the gene proximity map, whose weights are based on the contact frequencies between genes extracted from genome-wide Hi-C data. We derive a null model for the network based on the signal contributed by the 1D genomic distance and use it to "correct" the gene proximity for cell type 3D specific arrangements. The CGP map, therefore, provides a network framework for the 3D structure of the genome on a global scale. On human cell lines, we show that the CGP map can detect and quantify gene co-regulation and co-localization more effectively than the map obtained by raw contact frequencies. Analyzing the expression pattern of metabolic pathways of two hematopoietic cell lines, we find that the relative positioning of the genes, as captured and quantified by the CGP, is highly correlated with their expression change. We further show that the CGP map can be used to form an inter-chromosomal proximity map that allows large-scale abnormalities, such as chromosomal translocations, to be identified. CONCLUSIONS:The Corrected Gene Proximity map is a map of the 3D structure of the genome on a global scale. It allows the simultaneous analysis of intra- and inter- chromosomal interactions and of gene co-regulation and co-localization more effectively than the map obtained by raw contact frequencies, thus revealing hidden associations between global spatial positioning and gene expression. The flexible graph-based formalism of the CGP map can be easily generalized to study any existing Hi-C datasets.
Project description:To determine which genomic features promote homologous recombination, we created a genome-wide map of gene targeting sites. We used an adeno-associated virus vector to target identical loci introduced as transcriptionally active retroviral vectors. A comparison of ~2,000 targeted and untargeted sites showed that targeting occurred throughout the human genome and was not influenced by the presence of nearby CpG islands, sequence repeats or DNase I-hypersensitive sites. Targeted sites were preferentially located within transcription units, especially when the target loci were transcribed in the opposite orientation to their surrounding chromosomal genes. We determined the impact of DNA replication by mapping replication forks, which revealed a preference for recombination at target loci transcribed toward an incoming fork. Our results constitute the first genome-wide screen of gene targeting in mammalian cells and demonstrate a strong recombinogenic effect of colliding polymerases.
Project description:Resurrection of non-processed pseudogenes may increase the efficacy of therapeutic gene editing, upon simultaneous targeting of a mutated gene and its highly homologous pseudogenes. To investigate the potency of this approach for clinical gene therapy of human diseases, we corrected a pseudogene-associated disorder, the immunodeficiency p47 phox -deficient chronic granulomatous disease (p47 phox CGD), using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-associated nuclease Cas9 (CRISPR-Cas9) to target mutated neutrophil cytosolic factor 1 (NCF1). Being separated by less than two million base pairs, NCF1 and two pseudogenes are closely co-localized on chromosome 7. In healthy people, a two-nucleotide GT deletion (?GT) is present in the NCF1B and NCF1C pseudogenes only. In the majority of patients with p47 phox CGD, the NCF1 gene is inactivated due to a ?GT transfer from one of the two non-processed pseudogenes. Here we demonstrate that concurrent targeting and correction of mutated NCF1 and its pseudogenes results in therapeutic CGD phenotype correction, but also causes potentially harmful chromosomal deletions between the targeted loci in a p47 phox -deficient CGD cell line model. Therefore, development of genome-editing-based treatment of pseudogene-related disorders mandates thorough safety examination, as well as technological advances, limiting concurrent induction of multiple double-strand breaks on a single chromosome.
Project description:Analysis of replication timing by RepliSeq of HT-1080 Human Connective Tissue Fibrosarcoma Cells. HT-1080 subclone +4 cell line as described in “Human gene targeting favors insertions over deletions.” Russell, D.W., and Hirata, R.K. (2008). Hum Gene Ther 19, 907-914. RepliSeq of HT-1080 cell line was used to determine the impact of DNA replication on targeted adeno-associated virus sites by mapping replication forks, which revealed a consistent preference for recombination at target loci transcribed towards an incoming fork.
Project description:CRISPR loci are essential components of the adaptive immune system of archaea and bacteria. They consist of long arrays of repeats separated by DNA spacers encoding guide RNAs (crRNA), which target foreign genetic elements. Cbp1 (CRISPR DNA repeat binding protein) binds specifically to the multiple direct repeats of CRISPR loci of members of the acidothermophilic, crenarchaeal order Sulfolobales. cbp1 gene deletion from Sulfolobus islandicus REY15A produced a strong reduction in pre-crRNA yields from CRISPR loci but did not inhibit the foreign DNA targeting capacity of the CRISPR/Cas system. Conversely, overexpression of Cbp1 in S. islandicus generated an increase in pre-crRNA yields while the level of reverse strand transcripts from CRISPR loci remained unchanged. It is proposed that Cbp1 modulates production of longer pre-crRNA transcripts from CRISPR loci. A possible mechanism is that it minimizes interference from potential transcriptional signals carried on spacers deriving from A-T-rich genetic elements and, occasionally, on DNA repeats. Supporting evidence is provided by microarray and northern blotting analyses, and publicly available whole-transcriptome data for S. solfataricus P2.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Recombinant protein expression in mammalian cells is mostly achieved by stable integration of transgenes into the chromosomal DNA of established cell lines. The chromosomal surroundings have strong influences on the expression of transgenes. The exploitation of defined loci by targeting expression constructs with different regulatory elements is an approach to design high level expression systems. Further, this allows to evaluate the impact of chromosomal surroundings on distinct vector constructs.<h4>Results</h4>We explored antibody expression upon targeting diverse expression constructs into previously tagged loci in CHO-K1 and HEK293 cells that exhibit high reporter gene expression. These loci were selected by random transfer of reporter cassettes and subsequent screening. Both, retroviral infection and plasmid transfection with eGFP or antibody expression cassettes were employed for tagging. The tagged cell clones were screened for expression and single copy integration. Cell clones producing > 20 pg/cell in 24 hours could be identified. Selected integration sites that had been flanked with heterologous recombinase target sites (FRTs) were targeted by Flp recombinase mediated cassette exchange (RMCE). The results give proof of principle for consistent protein expression upon RMCE. Upon targeting antibody expression cassettes 90-100% of all resulting cell clones showed correct integration. Antibody production was found to be highly consistent within the individual cell clones as expected from their isogenic nature. However, the nature and orientation of expression control elements revealed to be critical. The impact of different promoters was examined with the tag-and-targeting approach. For each of the chosen promoters high expression sites were identified. However, each site supported the chosen promoters to a different extent, indicating that the strength of a particular promoter is dominantly defined by its chromosomal context.<h4>Conclusion</h4>RMCE provides a powerful method to specifically design vectors for optimized gene expression with high accuracy. Upon considering the specific requirements of chromosomal sites this method provides a unique tool to exploit such sites for predictable expression of biotechnologically relevant proteins such as antibodies.
Project description:In prokaryotes, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and their associated (Cas) proteins constitute a defence system against bacteriophages and plasmids. CRISPR/Cas systems acquire short spacer sequences from foreign genetic elements and incorporate these into their CRISPR arrays, generating a memory of past invaders. Defence is provided by short non-coding RNAs that guide Cas proteins to cleave complementary nucleic acids. While most spacers are acquired from phages and plasmids, there are examples of spacers that match genes elsewhere in the host bacterial chromosome. In Pectobacterium atrosepticum the type I-F CRISPR/Cas system has acquired a self-complementary spacer that perfectly matches a protospacer target in a horizontally acquired island (HAI2) involved in plant pathogenicity. Given the paucity of experimental data about CRISPR/Cas-mediated chromosomal targeting, we examined this process by developing a tightly controlled system. Chromosomal targeting was highly toxic via targeting of DNA and resulted in growth inhibition and cellular filamentation. The toxic phenotype was avoided by mutations in the cas operon, the CRISPR repeats, the protospacer target, and protospacer-adjacent motif (PAM) beside the target. Indeed, the natural self-targeting spacer was non-toxic due to a single nucleotide mutation adjacent to the target in the PAM sequence. Furthermore, we show that chromosomal targeting can result in large-scale genomic alterations, including the remodelling or deletion of entire pre-existing pathogenicity islands. These features can be engineered for the targeted deletion of large regions of bacterial chromosomes. In conclusion, in DNA-targeting CRISPR/Cas systems, chromosomal interference is deleterious by causing DNA damage and providing a strong selective pressure for genome alterations, which may have consequences for bacterial evolution and pathogenicity.
Project description:The gene targeting techniques used to modify chromosomes in mouse embryonic stem cells have had limited success with many other cell types, especially normal primary cells with restricted growth capacity outside the organism. This is due in large part to the technical problems and/or inefficiency of conventional DNA transfer methods, as well as the low rates of homologous recombination obtained in unselected cell populations. We recently described an alternative approach in which adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors were used to modify homologous chromosomal sequences, and targeting rates close to 1% were observed at the single copy hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase (HPRT) locus in normal human cells (D. W. Russell and R. K. Hirata, Nat. Genet. 18:325-330, 1998). Here we report experiments in which we used a retroviral shuttle vector system to introduce and characterize target loci in human chromosomes, and demonstrate that AAV vectors can correct several types of mutations with high fidelity, independent of chromosomal position. The gene targeting rates varied depending on the type of mutation being corrected, implicating cellular mismatch recognition functions in the reaction. Since AAV vectors can efficiently deliver DNA to many cell types both in vivo and ex vivo, our results suggest that AAV-mediated gene targeting will have wide applicability, including therapeutic gene correction.
Project description:CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) loci and their associated (cas) genes encode an adaptive immune system that protects prokaryotes from viral1 and plasmid2 invaders. Following viral (phage) infection, a small fraction of the prokaryotic cells are able to integrate a small sequence of the invader's genome into the CRISPR array1. These sequences, known as spacers, are transcribed and processed into small CRISPR RNA guides3-5 that associate with Cas nucleases to specify a viral target for destruction6-9. Although CRISPR-cas loci are widely distributed throughout microbial genomes and often display hallmarks of horizontal gene transfer10-12, the drivers of CRISPR dissemination remain unclear. Here, we show that spacers can recombine with phage target sequences to mediate a form of specialized transduction of CRISPR elements. Phage targets in phage 85, ?NM1, ?NM4 and ?12 can recombine with spacers in either chromosomal or plasmid-borne CRISPR loci in Staphylococcus, leading to either the transfer of CRISPR-adjacent genes or the propagation of acquired immunity to other bacteria in the population, respectively. Our data demonstrate that spacer sequences not only specify the targets of Cas nucleases but also can promote horizontal gene transfer.