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Blood. 1995 May 1;85(9):2447-54.

Expression of the blood-clotting factor-VIII cDNA is repressed by a transcriptional silencer located in its coding region.

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  • 1Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Leiden, The Netherlands.


Hemophilia A is caused by a deficiency of factor-VIII procoagulant (fVIII) activity. The current treatment by frequent infusions of plasma-derived fVIII concentrates is very effective but has the risk of transmittance of blood-borne viruses (human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], hepatitis viruses). Use of recombinant DNA-derived fVIII as well as gene therapy could make hemophilia treatment independent of blood-derived products. So far, the problematic production of the fVIII protein and the low titers of the fVIII retrovirus stocks have prevented preclinical trials of gene therapy for hemophilia A in large-animal models. We have initiated a study of the mechanisms that oppose efficient fVIII synthesis. We have established that fVIII cDNA contains sequences that dominantly inhibit its own expression from retroviral as well as from plasmid vectors. The inhibition is not caused by instability of the fVIII mRNA (t1/2, > or = 6 hours) but rather to repression at the level of transcription. A 305-bp fragment is identified that is involved in but not sufficient for repression. This fragment does not overlap the region recently identified by Lynch et al (Hum Gene Ther 4:259, 1993) as a dominant inhibitor of RNA accumulation. The repression is mediated by a cellular factor (or factors) and is independent of the orientation of the element in the transcription unit, giving the repressor element the hallmarks of a transcriptional silencer.

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