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Mol Ther. 2015 Apr;23(4):667-74. doi: 10.1038/mt.2014.254. Epub 2015 Jan 5.

Hybrid nonviral/viral vector systems for improved piggyBac DNA transposon in vivo delivery.

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Department of Microbiology, Carver College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Carver College of Medicine, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


The DNA transposon piggyBac is a potential therapeutic agent for multiple genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF). Recombinant piggyBac transposon and transposase are typically codelivered by plasmid transfection; however, plasmid delivery is inefficient in somatic cells in vivo and is a barrier to the therapeutic application of transposon-based vector systems. Here, we investigate the potential for hybrid piggyBac/viral vectors to transduce cells and support transposase-mediated genomic integration of the transposon. We tested both adenovirus (Ad) and adeno-associated virus (AAV) as transposon delivery vehicles. An Ad vector expressing hyperactive insect piggyBac transposase (iPB7) was codelivered. We show transposase-dependent transposition activity and mapped integrations in mammalian cells in vitro and in vivo from each viral vector platform. We also demonstrate efficient and persistent transgene expression following nasal delivery of piggyBac/viral vectors to mice. Furthermore, using piggyBac/Ad expressing Cystic Fibrosis transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR), we show persistent correction of chloride current in well-differentiated primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells derived from CF patients. Combining the emerging technologies of DNA transposon-based vectors with well-studied adenoviral and AAV delivery provides new tools for in vivo gene transfer and presents an exciting opportunity to increase the delivery efficiency for therapeutic genes such as CFTR.

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