Promoter and lineage independent anti-silencing activity of the A2 ubiquitous chromatin opening element for optimized human pluripotent stem cell-based gene therapy


Epigenetic silencing of retroviral transgene expression in pluripotent stem cells (PSC) and their differentiated progeny constitutes a major roadblock for PSC-based gene therapy. As ubiquitous chromatin opening elements (UCOEs) have been successfully employed to stabilize transgene expression in murine hematopoietic and pluripotent stem cells as well as their differentiated progeny, we here investigated UCOE activity in their human counterparts to establish a basis for future clinical application of the element. To this end, we demonstrate profound anti-silencing activity of the A2UCOE in several human iPS and ES cell lines including their progeny obtained upon directed cardiac or hematopoietic differentiation. We also provide evidence for A2UCOE activity in murine iPSC-derived hepatocyte-like cells, thus establishing efficacy of the element in cells of different germ layers. Finally, we investigated combinations of the A2UCOE with viral promoter/enhancer elements again demonstrating profound stabilization of transgene expression. In all these settings the effect of the A2UCOE was associated with strongly reduced promoter DNA-methylation. Thus, our data clearly support the concept of the A2UCOE as a generalized strategy to prevent epigenetic silencing in PSC and their differentiated progeny and strongly favors its application to stabilize transgene expression in PSC-based cell and gene therapy approaches. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Authors Ackermann M, Lachmann N, Hartung S, Eggenschwiler R, Pfaff N, Happle C, Mucci A, Göhring G, Niemann H, Hansen G, Schambach A, Cantz T, Zweigerdt R, Moritz T
Journal Biomaterials
Publication Date 2014 Feb;35(5):1531-42
PubMed 24290698
DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.11.024

Research Projects

Cell Lines