Improved production and purification of minicircle DNA vector free of plasmid bacterial sequences and capable of persistent transgene expression in vivo

Hum Gene Ther. 2005 Jan;16(1):126-31. doi: 10.1089/hum.2005.16.126.


We have shown previously that minicircle DNA vectors free of plasmid bacterial DNA sequences are capable of persistent high level of transgene expression in vivo. The minicircle is generated in bacteria from a parental plasmid containing an inducible phage oC31 integrase gene and a therapeutic expression cassette flanked with attB and attP sites. The oC31-mediated intramolecular recombination between attB and attP results in the formation of two circular DNA molecules, one containing the eukaryotic expression cassette (minicircle), and the other the plasmid bacterial DNA backbone (BB). Previously, the minicircle was purified away from the plasmid BB by a restriction enzyme digestion step and ultracentrifugation in cesium chloride. We have now included the endonuclease I-SceI gene together with its recognition site in the minicircle-producing plasmid to allow the linearization and degradation of the plasmid BB in bacteria. The minicircle can then be isolated by routine plasmid purification procedures such as a one-step affinity column. With additional modifications to our previous strategy, we can prepare a minicircle encoding a 4-kb human factor IX expression cassette, up to 1.8 mg of minicircle with 97% purity was prepared from a 1 liter bacterial culture. The high yield, simple purification, and robust and persistent transgene expression make these vectors viable for gene therapy applications.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / physiology*
  • DNA, Circular / isolation & purification*
  • Factor IX / genetics
  • Factor IX / isolation & purification
  • Factor IX / metabolism
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Plasmids*
  • Transgenes / physiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Circular
  • Factor IX