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Genet Vaccines Ther. 2004 Sep 13;2(1):13.

Skipping the co-expression problem: the new 2A "CHYSEL" technology.

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Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, School of Biology, Biomolecular Sciences Building, University of St, Andrews, North Haugh, St, Andrews KY16 9ST, Scotland, UK.


The rapid progress in the field of genomics is increasing our knowledge of multi-gene diseases. However, any realistic hope of gene therapy treatment for those diseases needs first to address the problem of co-ordinately co-expressing several transgenes. Currently, the use of internal ribosomal entry sites (IRESs) is the strategy chosen by many researchers to ensure co-expression. The large sizes of the IRESs (~0.5 kb), and the difficulties of ensuring a well-balanced co-expression, have prompted several researchers to imitate a co-expression strategy used by many viruses: to express several proteins as a polyprotein. A small peptide of 18 amino acids (2A) from the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is being used to avoid the need of proteinases to process the polyprotein. FMDV 2A is introduced as a linker between two proteins to allow autonomous intra-ribosomal self-processing of polyproteins. Recent reports have shown that this sequence is compatible with different sub-cellular targeting signals and can be used to co-express up to four proteins from a single retroviral vector. This short peptide provides a tool to allow the co-expression of multiple proteins from a single vector, a useful technology for those working with heteromultimeric proteins, biochemical pathways or combined/synergistic phenomena.

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