Our goal is the development of in vivo hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transduction technology with targeted integration. To achieve this, we modified helper-dependent HDAd5/35++ vectors to express a CRISPR/Cas9 specific to the "safe harbor" adeno-associated virus integration site 1 (AAVS1) locus and to provide a donor template for targeted integration through homology-dependent repair. We tested the HDAd-CRISPR + HDAd-donor vector system in AAVS1 transgenic mice using a standard ex vivo HSC gene therapy approach as well as a new in vivo HSC transduction approach that involves HSC mobilization and intravenous HDAd5/35++ injections. In both settings, the majority of treated mice had transgenes (GFP or human γ-globin) integrated into the AAVS1 locus. On average, >60% of peripheral blood cells expressed the transgene after in vivo selection with low-dose O6BG/bis-chloroethylnitrosourea (BCNU). Ex vivo and in vivo HSC transduction and selection studies with HDAd-CRISPR + HDAd-globin-donor resulted in stable γ-globin expression at levels that were significantly higher (>20% γ-globin of adult mouse globin) than those achieved in previous studies with a SB100x-transposase-based HDAd5/35++ system that mediates random integration. The ability to achieve therapeutically relevant transgene expression levels after in vivo HSC transduction and selection and targeted integration make our HDAd5/35++-based vector system a new tool in HSC gene therapy.
Keywords: AAVS1; CRISPR/Cas9; helper-dependent adenovirus; hematopoietic stem cell; targeted integration; transgenic mice.
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