Use of the piggyBac transposon to create stable packaging cell lines for the production of clinical-grade self-inactivating ?-retroviral vectors.
ABSTRACT: Efforts to improve the biosafety of ?-retroviral-mediated gene therapy have resulted in a shift toward the use of self-inactivating (SIN) ?-retroviral vectors. However, scale-up and manufacturing of such vectors requires significant optimization of transient transfection-based processes or development of novel platforms for the generation of stable producer cell clones. To that end, we describe the use of the piggybac transposon to generate stable producer cell clones for the production of SIN ?-retroviral vectors. The piggybac transposon is a universal tool allowing for the stable integration of SIN ?-retroviral constructs into murine (PG13) and human 293-based Phoenix (GALV and RD114, respectively) packaging cell lines without reverse transcription. Following transposition, a high-titer clone is selected for manufacture of a master cell bank and subsequent ?-retroviral vector supernatant production. Packaging cell clones created using the piggybac transposon have comparable titers to non-SIN vectors generated via conventional methods. We describe herein the use of the piggybac transposon for the production of stable packaging cell clones for the manufacture of clinical-grade SIN ?-retroviral vectors for ex vivo gene therapy clinical trials.
Project description:The γ-retroviral vector is a gene delivery vehicle that is commonly used in gene therapy. Despite its efficacy, its strong enhancers contributed to malignant transformations in some hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy trials. A safer version without viral enhancers (SIN) is available, but its production is cumbersome, as high titers can only be obtained in transient transfection. Our aim was to develop a system that could easily generate high-titer SIN vectors from stable producer cells. The use of the cytomegalovirus enhancer-promoter sequence to generate the full-length genomic RNA combined to sequences that decrease transcriptional readthrough (WPRE and strong polyadenylation sequences) led to 6 × 106 infectious units (IU)/mL of a SIN GFP vector in transient transfection. The incorporation of a blasticidin selection cassette to the retroviral plasmid allowed the generation of stable clones in the 293Vec packaging cells that release 2 × 107 IU/mL and 1.4 × 107 IU/mL of a SIN GFP and a SIN PIGA vector, respectively. A titer of 1.8 × 106 IU/mL was obtained with a SIN vector containing the long 8.9-kb COL7A1 cDNA. Thus, an efficient process was established for the generation of stable 293Vec-derived retrovirus producer cells that release high-titer SIN vectors.
Project description:Retroviral vectors containing internal promoters, chromatin insulators, and self-inactivating (SIN) long terminal repeats (LTRs) may have significantly reduced genotoxicity relative to the conventional retroviral vectors used in recent, otherwise successful clinical trials. Large-scale production of such vectors is problematic, however, as the introduction of SIN vectors into packaging cells cannot be accomplished with the traditional method of viral transduction. We have derived a set of packaging cell lines for HIV-based lentiviral vectors and developed a novel concatemeric array transfection technique for the introduction of SIN vector genomes devoid of enhancer and promoter sequences in the LTR. We used this method to derive a producer cell clone for a SIN lentiviral vector expressing green fluorescent protein, which when grown in a bioreactor generated more than 20 L of supernatant with titers above 10(7) transducing units (TU) per milliliter. Further refinement of our technique enabled the rapid generation of whole populations of stably transformed cells that produced similar titers. Finally, we describe the construction of an insulated, SIN lentiviral vector encoding the human interleukin 2 receptor common gamma chain (IL2RG) gene and the efficient derivation of cloned producer cells that generate supernatants with titers greater than 5 x 10(7) TU/mL and that are suitable for use in a clinical trial for X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1).
Project description:Retroviral vectors with long terminal repeats (LTRs), which contain strong enhancer/promoter sequences at both ends of their genome, are widely used for stable gene transfer into hematopoietic cells. However, recent clinical data and mouse models point to insertional activation of cellular proto-oncogenes as a dose-limiting side effect of retroviral gene delivery that potentially induces leukemia. Self-inactivating (SIN) retroviral vectors do not contain the terminal repetition of the enhancer/promoter, theoretically attenuating the interaction with neighboring cellular genes. With a new assay based on in vitro expansion of primary murine hematopoietic cells and selection in limiting dilution, we showed that SIN vectors using a strong internal retroviral enhancer/promoter may also transform cells by insertional mutagenesis. Most transformed clones, including those obtained after dose escalation of SIN vectors, showed insertions upstream of the third exon of Evi1 and in reverse orientation to its transcriptional orientation. Normalizing for the vector copy number, we found the transforming capacity of SIN vectors to be significantly reduced when compared with corresponding LTR vectors. Additional modifications of SIN vectors may further increase safety. Improved cell-culture assays will likely play an important role in the evaluation of insertional mutagenesis.
Project description:Stable genetic modification of stem cells holds great promise for gene therapy and marking, but commonly used gamma-retroviral vectors were found to influence growth/survival characteristics of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) by insertional mutagenesis. In this article, we show that promoter-deprived gamma-retroviral self-inactivating (pd-SIN) vectors allow stable genetic marking of serially reconstituting murine HSC. In contrast to findings with gamma-retroviral long terminal repeat (LTR) vectors, serial transplantation of pd-SIN-marked HSC in a sensitive mouse model was apparently not associated with induced clonal imbalance of gene-marked HSC. Furthermore, insertions of pd-SIN into protooncogenes, growth-promoting and signaling genes occurred significantly less frequent than in control experiments with LTR vectors. Also, transcriptional dysregulation of neighboring genes potentially caused by the pd-SIN insertion was rarely seen and comparatively weak. The integration pattern of promotor-deprived SIN vectors in reconstituting HSC seems to depend on the transcriptional activity of the respective gene loci reflecting the picture described for LTR vectors. In conclusion, our data strongly support the use of SIN vectors for gene-marking studies and suggest an increased therapeutic index for vectors lacking enhancers active in HSC.
Project description:CAR-T cell-based immunotherapy has shown great promise in clinical trials for the treatment of hematological malignancies. The majority of these trials utilize retroviral and lentiviral vectors to introduce CAR transgene. In spite of its satisfactory efficiency, the concerns about the potential carcinogenicity and complicated synthesis procedure restrict widespread clinical applications of viral vectors. Recent studies show that transposon-based gene transfer is a safer and simpler non-viral approach for stable transgene expression. Here, we developed an in house made polymeric nanomicelles carrier for piggyBac (PB) transposon delivery to primary T lymphocytes. The properties, transfection efficiency and toxicity of this carrier was analyzed. Results indicated that nanomicelles produced in our study were stable and reduction-sensitive. These micelles can completely condense DNA and mediate transfection with efficiency of average 30.2% with high cell viability (> 80%). Furthermore, incorporating piggyBac transposase elements into polyplexes promoted persistent expression of the transgene (up to 55%). At the end of culture, CAR-T cells mainly exhibited memory phenotype and consisted of CD3+CD8+ T cells. The cytotoxicity of these CAR-T cells was average 17% at 20:1 ratio. In conclusion, polymeric nanomicelles provide a flexible and safe method for gene delivery to T lymphocytes.
Project description:We report here that butyrate, a naturally occurring fatty acid commonly used as a nutritional supplement and differentiation agent, greatly enhances the efficiency of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell derivation from human adult or fetal fibroblasts. After transient butyrate treatment, the iPS cell derivation efficiency is enhanced by 15- to 51-fold using either retroviral or piggyBac transposon vectors expressing 4 to 5 reprogramming genes. Butyrate stimulation is more remarkable (>100- to 200-fold) on reprogramming in the absence of either KLF4 or MYC transgene. Butyrate treatment did not negatively affect properties of iPS cell lines established by either 3 or 4 retroviral vectors or a single piggyBac DNA transposon vector. These characterized iPS cell lines, including those derived from an adult patient with sickle cell disease by either the piggyBac or retroviral vectors, show normal karyotypes and pluripotency. To gain insights into the underlying mechanisms of butyrate stimulation, we conducted genome-wide gene expression and promoter DNA methylation microarrays and other epigenetic analyses on established iPS cells and cells from intermediate stages of the reprogramming process. By days 6 to 12 during reprogramming, butyrate treatment enhanced histone H3 acetylation, promoter DNA demethylation, and the expression of endogenous pluripotency-associated genes, including DPPA2, whose overexpression partially substitutes for butyrate stimulation. Thus, butyrate as a cell permeable small molecule provides a simple tool to further investigate molecular mechanisms of cellular reprogramming. Moreover, butyrate stimulation provides an efficient method for reprogramming various human adult somatic cells, including cells from patients that are more refractory to reprogramming.
Project description:CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR19) T cells, generated using viral vectors, are an efficacious but costly treatment for B cell malignancies. The nonviral piggyBac transposon system provides a simple and inexpensive alternative for CAR19 T cell production. Until now, piggyBac has been plasmid based, facilitating economical vector amplification in bacteria. However, amplified plasmids have several undesirable qualities for clinical translation, including bacterial genetic elements, antibiotic-resistance genes, and the requirement for purification to remove endotoxin. Doggybones (dbDNA) are linear, covalently closed, minimal DNA vectors that can be inexpensively produced enzymatically in vitro at large scale. Importantly, they lack the undesirable features of plasmids. We used dbDNA incorporating piggyBac to generate CAR19 T cells. Initially, expression of functional transposase was evident, but stable CAR expression did not occur. After excluding other causes, additional random DNA flanking the transposon within the dbDNA was introduced, promoting stable CAR expression comparable to that of using plasmid components. Our findings demonstrate that dbDNA incorporating piggyBac can be used to generate CAR T cells and indicate that there is a requirement for DNA flanking the piggyBac transposon to enable effective transposition. dbDNA may further reduce the cost and improve the safety of CAR T cell production with transposon systems.
Project description:The successful genetic engineering of patient T cells with ?-retroviral vectors expressing chimeric antigen receptors or T-cell receptors for phase II clinical trials and beyond requires the large-scale manufacture of high-titer vector stocks. The production of retroviral vectors from stable packaging cell lines using roller bottles or 10- to 40-layer cell factories is limited by a narrow harvest window, labor intensity, open-system operations, and the requirement for significant incubator space. To circumvent these shortcomings, we optimized the production of vector stocks in a disposable fixed-bed bioreactor using good manufacturing practice-grade packaging cell lines. High-titer vector stocks were harvested over 10 days, representing a much broader harvest window than the 3-day harvest afforded by cell factories. For PG13 and 293Vec packaging cells, the average vector titer and the vector stocks' yield in the bioreactor were higher by 3.2- to 7.3-fold, and 5.6- to 13.1-fold, respectively, than those obtained in cell factories. The vector production was 10.4 and 18.6 times more efficient than in cell factories for PG13 and 293Vec cells, respectively. Furthermore, the vectors produced from the fixed-bed bioreactors passed the release test assays for clinical applications. Therefore, a single vector lot derived from 293Vec is suitable to transduce up to 500 patients cell doses in the context of large clinical trials using chimeric antigen receptors or T-cell receptors. These findings demonstrate for the first time that a robust fixed-bed bioreactor process can be used to produce ?-retroviral vector stocks scalable up to the commercialization phase.
Project description:Viral vectors have been used for hemophilia A gene therapy. However, due to its large size, full-length Factor VIII (FVIII) cDNA has not been successfully delivered using conventional viral vectors. Moreover, viral vectors may pose safety risks, e.g., adverse immunological reactions or virus-mediated cytotoxicity. Here, we took advantages of the non-viral vector gene delivery system based on piggyBac DNA transposon to transfer the full-length FVIII cDNA, for the purpose of treating hemophilia A. We tested the efficiency of this new vector system in human 293T cells and iPS cells, and confirmed the expression of the full-length FVIII in culture media using activity-sensitive coagulation assays. Hydrodynamic injection of the piggyBac vectors into hemophilia A mice temporally treated with an immunosuppressant resulted in stable production of circulating FVIII for over 300 days without development of anti-FVIII antibodies. Furthermore, tail-clip assay revealed significant improvement of blood coagulation time in the treated mice. piggyBac transposon vectors can facilitate the long-term expression of therapeutic transgenes in vitro and in vivo. This novel gene transfer strategy should provide safe and efficient delivery of FVIII.
Project description:DNA synthesis is considered a defining feature in the movement of transposable elements. In determining the mechanism of piggyBac transposition, an insect transposon that is being increasingly used for genome manipulation in a variety of systems including mammalian cells, we have found that DNA synthesis can be avoided during piggyBac transposition, both at the donor site following transposon excision and at the insertion site following transposon integration. We demonstrate that piggyBac transposon excision occurs through the formation of transient hairpins on the transposon ends and that piggyBac target joining occurs by the direct attack of the 3'OH transposon ends on to the target DNA. This is the same strategy for target joining used by the members of DDE superfamily of transposases and retroviral integrases. Analysis of mutant piggyBac transposases in vitro and in vivo using a piggyBac transposition system we have established in Saccharomyces cerevisiae suggests that piggyBac transposase is a member of the DDE superfamily of recombinases, an unanticipated result because of the lack of sequence similarity between piggyBac and DDE family of recombinases.