Tal Effectors

Transcription activator-like effector nuclease

Efficient sleeping beauty DNA transposition from DNA minicircles.

Efficient sleeping beauty DNA transposition from DNA minicircles.

DNA transposon-based vectors have emerged as new potential delivery tools in therapeutic gene transfer.

Such vectors are now showing promise in hematopoietic stem cells and primary human T cells, and clinical trials with transposon-engineered cells are on the way.

However, the use of plasmid DNA as a carrier of the vector raises safety concerns due to the undesirable administration of bacterial sequences. To optimize vectors based on the Sleeping Beauty (SB) DNA transposon for clinical use, we examine here SB transposition from DNA minicircles (MCs) devoid of the bacterial plasmid backbone.

Potent DNA transposition, directed by the hyperactive SB100X transposase, is demonstrated from MC donors, and the stable transfection rate is significantly enhanced by expressing the SB100X transposase from MCs. The stable transfection rate is inversely related to the size of circular donor, suggesting that a MC-based SB transposition system benefits primarily from an increased cellular uptake and/or enhanced expression which can be observed with DNA MCs. 

DNA transposon and transposase MCs are easily produced, are favorable in size, do not carry irrelevant DNA, and are robust substrates for DNA transposition.

In accordance, DNA MCs should become a standard source of DNA transposons not only in therapeutic settings but also in the daily use of the SB system.

Efficient sleeping beauty DNA transposition from DNA minicircles.
Efficient sleeping beauty DNA transposition from DNA minicircles.

DNA contents of replication without DNA density labeling.

A new method for determining the timing of DNA replication in specific regions of the mammalian genome without the use of DNA density labeling and DNA density centrifugation is described.

The method is based on determination of average relative DNA copy numbers in specific genomic regions as cells progress through S phase, and “time of replication” for a specific region is described in terms of the cell’s DNA content when the region is replicated.

DNA is isolated from synchronized populations of G1 and S phase cells, it is slot-blotted at the same DNA concentration(s) for each population, and it is hybridized with 32P-labeled DNA probes that are specific to the regions of interest.

Quantitation of the slot blot autoradiograms and flow cytometric analysis allows determination of (a) average relative DNA copy numbers for the regions of interest in synchronized cell populations, and (b) the average total DNA content in each population of synchronized cells.

This information and the flow cytometry histograms are then used to calculate the cellular DNA content at which each region of interest is replicated.

The results have a precision of less than or equal to +/- 10% of S phase for Chinese hamster (line CHO) rhodopsin, metallothionein II, the 5′-end of dihydrofolate reductase, the telomeric repeated sequence, pHuR-093 (also located near the centromeres in CHO chromosomes), and the c-Ki-ras family.

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