Evaluating the Genomic Parameters Governing rAAV-Mediated Homologous Recombination

Mol Ther. 2021 Mar 3;29(3):1028-1046. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2020.11.025. Epub 2020 Nov 26.


Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors have the unique ability to promote targeted integration of transgenes via homologous recombination at specified genomic sites, reaching frequencies of 0.1%-1%. We studied genomic parameters that influence targeting efficiencies on a large scale. To do this, we generated more than 1,000 engineered, doxycycline-inducible target sites in the human HAP1 cell line and infected this polyclonal population with a library of AAV-DJ targeting vectors, with each carrying a unique barcode. The heterogeneity of barcode integration at each target site provided an assessment of targeting efficiency at that locus. We compared targeting efficiency with and without target site transcription for identical chromosomal positions. Targeting efficiency was enhanced by target site transcription, while chromatin accessibility was associated with an increased likelihood of targeting. ChromHMM chromatin states characterizing transcription and enhancers in wild-type K562 cells were also associated with increased AAV-HR efficiency with and without target site transcription, respectively. Furthermore, the amenability of a site to targeting was influenced by the endogenous transcriptional level of intersecting genes. These results define important parameters that may not only assist in designing optimal targeting vectors for genome editing, but also provide new insights into the mechanism of AAV-mediated homologous recombination.

Keywords: chromatin; genomic states affecting HR; homologous recombination; rAAV.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques / statistics & numerical data*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Homologous Recombination*
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • Transgenes*


  • Chromatin