PiggyBac transposon system with polymeric gene carrier transfected into human T cells.
ABSTRACT: 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:The DNA transposon piggyBac is a potential therapeutic agent for multiple genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF). Recombinant piggyBac transposon and transposase are typically codelivered by plasmid transfection; however, plasmid delivery is inefficient in somatic cells in vivo and is a barrier to the therapeutic application of transposon-based vector systems. Here, we investigate the potential for hybrid piggyBac/viral vectors to transduce cells and support transposase-mediated genomic integration of the transposon. We tested both adenovirus (Ad) and adeno-associated virus (AAV) as transposon delivery vehicles. An Ad vector expressing hyperactive insect piggyBac transposase (iPB7) was codelivered. We show transposase-dependent transposition activity and mapped integrations in mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo from each viral vector platform. We also demonstrate efficient and persistent transgene expression following nasal delivery of piggyBac/viral vectors to mice. Furthermore, using piggyBac/Ad expressing Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR), we show persistent correction of chloride current in well-differentiated primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells derived from CF patients. Combining the emerging technologies of DNA transposon-based vectors with well-studied adenoviral and AAV delivery provides new tools for in vivo gene transfer and presents an exciting opportunity to increase the delivery efficiency for therapeutic genes such as CFTR.
Project description:Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to induced hepatocyte-like cells (iHeps) by overexpressing certain defined factors in direct reprogramming techniques. Of the various methods to deliver genes into cells, typically used genome-integrating viral vectors are associated with integration-related adverse events such as mutagenesis, whereas non-integrating viral vectors have low efficiency, making viral vectors unsuitable for clinical application. Therefore, we focused on developing a transposon system to establish a non-viral reprogramming method. Transposons are unique DNA elements that can be integrated into and removed from chromosomes. PiggyBac, a type of transposon, has high transduction efficiency and cargo capacity, and the integrated transgene can be precisely excised in the presence of transposase. This feature enables the piggyBac vector to achieve efficient transgene expression and a transgene-free state, thus making it a promising method for cell reprogramming. Here, we attempted to utilize the piggyBac transposon system to generate iHeps by integrating a transgene consisting of Hnf4a and Foxa3, and successfully obtained functional iHeps. We then demonstrated removal of the transgene to obtain transgene-free iHeps, which still maintained hepatocyte functions. This non-viral, transgene-free reprogramming method using the piggyBac vector may facilitate clinical applications of iHeps in upcoming cell therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Up to now, the different uptake pathways and the subsequent intracellular trafficking of plasmid DNA have been largely explored. By contrast, the mode of internalization and the intracellular routing of an exogenous mRNA in transfected cells are poorly investigated and remain to be elucidated. The bioavailability of internalized mRNA depends on its intracellular routing and its potential accumulation in dynamic sorting sites for storage: stress granules and processing bodies. This question is of particular significance when a secure transposon-based system able to integrate a therapeutic transgene into the genome is used. Transposon vectors usually require two components: a plasmid DNA, carrying the gene of interest, and a source of transposase allowing the integration of the transgene. The principal drawback is the lasting presence of the transposase, which could remobilize the transgene once it has been inserted. Our study focused on the pharmacokinetics of the transposition process mediated by the piggyBac transposase mRNA transfection. Exogenous mRNA internalization and trafficking were investigated towards a better apprehension and fine control of the piggyBac transposase bioavailability. RESULTS: The mRNA prototype designed in this study provides a very narrow expression window of transposase, which allows high efficiency transposition with no cytotoxicity. Our data reveal that exogenous transposase mRNA enters cells by clathrin and caveolae-mediated endocytosis, before finishing in late endosomes 3 h after transfection. At this point, the mRNA is dissociated from its carrier and localized in stress granules, but not in cytoplasmic processing bodies. Some weaker signals have been observed in stress granules at 18 h and 48 h without causing prolonged production of the transposase. So, we designed an mRNA that is efficiently translated with a peak of transposase production 18 h post-transfection without additional release of the molecule. This confines the integration of the transgene in a very small time window. CONCLUSION: Our results shed light on processes of exogenous mRNA trafficking, which are crucial to estimate the mRNA bioavailability, and increase the biosafety of transgene integration mediated by transposition. This approach provides a new way for limiting the transgene copy in the genome and their remobilization by mRNA engineering and trafficking.
Project description:Integrating and expressing stably a transgene into the cellular genome remain major challenges for gene-based therapies and for bioproduction purposes. While transposon vectors mediate efficient transgene integration, expression may be limited by epigenetic silencing, and persistent transposase expression may mediate multiple transposition cycles. Here, we evaluated the delivery of the piggyBac transposase messenger RNA combined with genetically insulated transposons to isolate the transgene from neighboring regulatory elements and stabilize expression. A comparison of piggyBac transposase expression from messenger RNA and DNA vectors was carried out in terms of expression levels, transposition efficiency, transgene expression and genotoxic effects, in order to calibrate and secure the transposition-based delivery system. Messenger RNA reduced the persistence of the transposase to a narrow window, thus decreasing side effects such as superfluous genomic DNA cleavage. Both the CTF/NF1 and the D4Z4 insulators were found to mediate more efficient expression from a few transposition events. We conclude that the use of engineered piggyBac transposase mRNA and insulated transposons offer promising ways of improving the quality of the integration process and sustaining the expression of transposon vectors.
Project description:DNA transposons have become important vectors for efficient non-viral integration of transgenes into genomic DNA. The Sleeping Beauty (SB), piggyBac (PB), and Tol2 transposable elements have distinct biological properties and currently represent the most promising transposon systems for animal transgenesis and gene therapy. A potential obstacle, however, for persistent function of integrating vectors is transcriptional repression of the element and its genetic cargo. In this study we analyze the insulating effect of the 1.2-kb 5'-HS4 chicken ?-globin (cHS4) insulator element in the context of SB, PB, and Tol2 transposon vectors. By examining transgene expression from genomically inserted transposon vectors encoding a marker gene driven by a silencing-prone promoter, we detect variable levels of transcriptional silencing for the three transposon systems in retinal pigment epithelium cells. Notably, the PB system seems less vulnerable to silencing. Incorporation of cHS4 insulator sequences into the transposon vectors results in 2.2-fold and 1.5-fold increased transgene expression levels for insulated SB and PB vectors, respectively, but an improved persistency of expression was not obtained for insulated transgenes. Colony formation assays and quantitative excision assays unveil enhanced SB transposition efficiencies by the inclusion of the cHS4 element, resulting in a significant increase in the stable transfection rate for insulated SB transposon vectors in human cell lines. Our findings reveal a positive impact of cHS4 insulator inclusion for SB and PB vectors in terms of increased transgene expression levels and improved SB stable transfection rates, but also the lack of a long-term protective effect of the cHS4 insulator against progressive transgene silencing in retinal pigment epithelium cells.
Project description:Adoptive T cell therapy using chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified T cells is a promising cancer immunotherapy. We previously developed a non-viral method of gene transfer into T cells using a piggyBac transposon system to improve the cost-effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapy. Here, we have further improved our technology by a novel culture strategy to increase the transfection efficiency and to reduce the time of T cell manufacturing. Using a CH2CH3-free CD19-specific CAR transposon vector and combining irradiated activated T cells (ATCs) as feeder cells and virus-specific T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, we achieved 51.4% ± 14% CAR+ T cells and 2.8-fold expansion after 14 culture days. Expanded CD19.CAR-T cells maintained a significant fraction of CD45RA+CCR7+ T cells and demonstrated potent antitumor activity against CD19+ leukemic cells both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, piggyBac-based gene transfer may provide an alternative to viral gene transfer for CAR-T cell therapy.
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: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: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:Engineered T-cell therapy using a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CD19-CAR) is a promising strategy for the treatment of advanced B-cell malignancies. Gene transfer of CARs to T-cells has widely relied on retroviral vectors, but transposon-based gene transfer has recently emerged as a suitable nonviral method to mediate stable transgene expression. The advantages of transposon vectors compared with viral vectors include their simplicity and cost-effectiveness. We used the Tol2 transposon system to stably transfer CD19-CAR into human T-cells. Normal human peripheral blood lymphocytes were co-nucleofected with the Tol2 transposon donor plasmid carrying CD19-CAR and the transposase expression plasmid and were selectively propagated on NIH3T3 cells expressing human CD19. Expanded CD3(+) T-cells with stable and high-level transgene expression (~95%) produced interferon-? upon stimulation with CD19 and specifically lysed Raji cells, a CD19(+) human B-cell lymphoma cell line. Adoptive transfer of these T-cells suppressed tumor progression in Raji tumor-bearing Rag2(-/-)?c(-/-) immunodeficient mice compared with control mice. These results demonstrate that the Tol2 transposon system could be used to express CD19-CAR in genetically engineered T-cells for the treatment of refractory B-cell malignancies.