alexa Site-directed transposon integration in human cells.
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Gene Technology

Author(s): Yant SR, Huang Y, Akache B, Kay MA

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Abstract The Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon is a promising gene transfer vector that integrates nonspecifically into host cell genomes. Herein, we attempt to direct transposon integration into predetermined DNA sites by coupling a site-specific DNA-binding domain (DBD) to the SB transposase. We engineered fusion proteins comprised of a hyperactive SB transposase (HSB5) joined via a variable-length linker to either end of the polydactyl zinc-finger protein E2C, which binds a unique sequence on human chromosome 17. Although DBD linkage to the C-terminus of SB abolished activity in a human cell transposition assay, the N-terminal addition of the E2C or Gal4 DBD did not. Molecular analyses indicated that these DBD-SB fusion proteins retained DNA-binding specificity for their respective substrate molecules and were capable of mediating bona fide transposition reactions. We also characterized transposon integrations in the presence of the E2C-SB fusion protein to determine its potential to target predefined DNA sites. Our results indicate that fusion protein-mediated tethering can effectively redirect transposon insertion site selection in human cells, but suggest that stable docking of integration complexes may also partially interfere with the cut-and-paste mechanism. These findings illustrate the feasibility of directed transposon integration and highlight potential means for future development.
This article was published in Nucleic Acids Res and referenced in Gene Technology

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