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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. May 15, 1991; 88(10): 4294–4298.

Correction of a human beta S-globin gene by gene targeting.


As a step toward using gene targeting for gene therapy, we have corrected a human beta S-globin gene to the normal beta A allele by homologous recombination in the mouse-human hybrid cell line BSM. BSM is derived from a mouse erythroleukemia cell line and carries a single human chromosome 11 with the beta S-globin allele. A beta A-globin targeting construct containing a unique oligomer and a neomycin-resistance gene was electroporated into the BSM cells, which were then placed under G418 selection. Then 126 resulting pools containing a total of approximately 29,000 G418-resistant clones were screened by PCR for the presence of a targeted recombinant: 3 positive pools were identified. A targeted clone was isolated by replating one of the positive pools into smaller pools and rescreening by PCR, followed by dilution cloning. Southern blot analysis demonstrated that the isolated clone had been targeted as planned. The correction of the beta S allele to beta A was confirmed both by allele-specific PCR and by allele-specific antibodies. Expression studies comparing the uninduced and induced RNA levels in unmodified BSM cells and in the targeted clone showed no significant alteration in the ability of the targeted clone to undergo induction, despite the potentially disrupting presence of a transcriptionally active neomycin gene 5' to the human beta A-globin gene. Thus gene targeting can correct a beta S allele to beta A, and the use of a selectable helper gene need not significantly interfere with the induction of the corrected gene.

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