by Lucas M. Sjeklocha, Chang-Won Park, Phillip Y-P Wong, Mark J. Roney, John D. Belcher, Dan S. Kaufman, Gregory M. Vercellotti, Robert P. Hebbel, Clifford J. Steer
Gene therapy for sickle cell disease will require efficient delivery of a tightly regulated and stably expressed gene product to provide an effective therapy. In this study we utilized the non-viral Sleeping Beauty (SB) transposon system using the SB100X hyperactive transposase to transduce human cord blood CD34+ cells with DsRed and a hybrid IHK–ß-globin transgene. IHK transduced cells were successfully differentiated into multiple lineages which all showed transgene integration. The mature erythroid cells had an increased ß-globin to ?-globin ratio from 0.66±0.08 to 1.05±0.12 (p?=?0.05), indicating expression of ß-globin from the integrated SB transgene. IHK–ß-globin mRNA was found in non-erythroid cell types, similar to native ß-globin mRNA that was also expressed at low levels. Additional studies in the hematopoietic K562 cell line confirmed the ability of cHS4 insulator elements to protect DsRed and IHK–ß-globin transgenes from silencing in long-term culture studies. Insulated transgenes had statistically significant improvement in the maintenance of long term expression, while preserving transgene regulation. These results support the use of Sleeping Beauty vectors in carrying an insulated IHK–ß-globin transgene for gene therapy of sickle cell disease.