We generated an integrating, CD46-targeted, helper-dependent adenovirus HDAd5/35++ vector system for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) gene therapy. The ∼12-kb transgene cassette included a β-globin locus control region (LCR)/promoter driven human γ-globin gene and an elongation factor alpha-1 (EF1α)-mgmtP140K expression cassette, which allows for drug-controlled increase of γ-globin-expressing erythrocytes. We transduced bone marrow lineage-depleted cells from human CD46-transgenic mice and transplanted them into lethally irradiated recipients. The percentage of γ-globin-positive cells in peripheral blood erythrocytes in primary and secondary transplant recipients was stable and greater than 90%. The γ-globin level was 10%-20% of adult mouse globin. Transgene integration, mediated by a hyperactive Sleeping Beauty SB100x transposase, was random, without a preference for genes. A second set of studies was performed with peripheral blood CD34+ cells from mobilized donors. 10 weeks after transplantation of transduced cells, human cells were harvested from the bone marrow and differentiated ex vivo into erythroid cells. Erythroid cells expressed γ-globin at a level of 20% of adult α-globin. Our studies suggest that HDAd35++ vectors allow for efficient transduction of long-term repopulating HSCs and high-level, almost pancellular γ-globin expression in erythrocytes. Furthermore, our HDAd5/35++ vectors have a larger insert capacity and a safer integration pattern than currently used lentivirus vectors.
Keywords: Sleeping Beauty transposase; beta-thalassemia; gamma globin; gene addition; hematopoietic stem cells; integration; sickle cell disease.