Characterizing piggyBat-a transposase for genetic modification of T cells

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2022 Mar 22;25:250-263. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2022.03.012. eCollection 2022 Jun 9.


Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells targeting CD19 have demonstrated remarkable efficacy in the treatment of B cell malignancies. Current CAR T cell manufacturing protocols are complex and costly due to their reliance on viral vectors. Non-viral systems of genetic modification, such as with transposase and transposon systems, offer a potential streamlined alternative for CAR T cell manufacture and are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. In this study, we utilized the previously described transposase from the little brown bat, designated piggyBat, for production of CD19-specific CAR T cells. PiggyBat demonstrates efficient CAR transgene delivery, with a relatively low variability in integration copy number across a range of manufacturing conditions as well as a similar integration site profile to super-piggyBac transposon and viral vectors. PiggyBat-generated CAR T cells demonstrate CD19-specific cytotoxic efficacy in vitro and in vivo. These data demonstrate that alternative, naturally occurring DNA transposons can be efficiently re-tooled to be exploited in real-world applications.

Keywords: CAR; CD19; T cell immunotherapy; chimeric antigen receptor; non-viral vector; piggybat; transposons.