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Discov Med. 2015 Jan;19(102):49-57.

Viral expression cassette elements to enhance transgene target specificity and expression in gene therapy.

Author information

1
Gene Therapy Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
2
Gene Therapy Center and Department of Ophthalmology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Abstract

Over the last five years, the number of clinical trials involving AAV (adeno-associated virus) and lentiviral vectors continue to increase by about 150 trials each year. For continued success, AAV and lentiviral expression cassettes need to be designed to meet each disease's specific needs. This review discusses how viral vector expression cassettes can be engineered with elements to enhance target specificity and increase transgene expression. The key differences relating to target specificity between ubiquitous and tissue-specific promoters are discussed, as well as how endogenous miRNAs and their target sequences have been used to restrict transgene expression. Specifically, relevant studies indicating how cis-acting elements such as introns, WPRE, polyadenylation signals, and the CMV enhancer are highlighted to show their utility for enhancing transgene expression in gene therapy applications. All discussion bears in mind that expression cassettes have space constraints. In conclusion, this review can serve as a menu of vector genome design elements and their cost in terms of space to thoughtfully engineer viral vectors for gene therapy.

PMID:
25636961
PMCID:
PMC4505817
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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