• Authors: Bire, S., Ley, D., Casteret, S., Mermod, N., Bigot, Y., Rouleux-Bonnin, F.
  • Year: 2013
  • Journal: PLoS One 8 e82559
  • Applications: in vitro / DNA / jetPEI
  • Cell type: HeLa
    Description: Human cervix epitheloid carcinoma cells


Integrating and expressing stably a transgene into the cellular genome remain major challenges for gene-based therapies and for bioproduction purposes. While transposon vectors mediate efficient transgene integration, expression may be limited by epigenetic silencing, and persistent transposase expression may mediate multiple transposition cycles. Here, we evaluated the delivery of the piggyBac transposase messenger RNA combined with genetically insulated transposons to isolate the transgene from neighboring regulatory elements and stabilize expression. A comparison of piggyBac transposase expression from messenger RNA and DNA vectors was carried out in terms of expression levels, transposition efficiency, transgene expression and genotoxic effects, in order to calibrate and secure the transposition-based delivery system. Messenger RNA reduced the persistence of the transposase to a narrow window, thus decreasing side effects such as superfluous genomic DNA cleavage. Both the CTF/NF1 and the D4Z4 insulators were found to mediate more efficient expression from a few transposition events. We conclude that the use of engineered piggyBac transposase mRNA and insulated transposons offer promising ways of improving the quality of the integration process and sustaining the expression of transposon vectors.