Targeted correction of a detective selectable marker gene in human epithelial cells by small DNA fragments

Alessia Colosimo, Kaarin K. Goncz, Giuseppe Novelli, Bruno Dallapiccola, Dieter C. Gruenert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


A novel gene targeting strategy, small fragment homologous replacement (SFHR), has been used to correct specific genomic lesions in human epithelial cells. The frequency of targeting was estimated to be 1-10%. However, given the genomic target, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, it is difficult to accurately quantify targeting frequency. As an alternative to targeting CFTR, targeted correction of a mutant selectable marker or reporter gene would be more amenable to accurate and rapid quantification of gene targeting efficiency. The present study evaluates the conditions that modulate SFHR-mediated correction of a defective Zeocin antibiotic resistance (Zeor) gene that has been inactivated by a 4-bp insertion. The conditions include delivery systems, plasmid-to-fragment ratio, fragment length, and fragment strandedness (single- or double-stranded DNA). Targeting fragments comprise the wild-type Zeor gene sequence and were either 410 (Zeo1) or 458 bp (Zeo3). Expression vectors containing the corrected Zeor gene were isolated as episomal plasmids or were allowed to stably integrate into cultured human airway epithelial cells. Correction of the Zeor gene was phenotypically defined as restoration of resistance to Zeocin in either bacteria or epithelial cell clones. Extrachromosomal gene correction was assayed using polymerase chain reaction amplification, restriction enzyme digestion, DNA sequencing, and Southern blot hybridization analysis of DNA from isolated prokaryotic and eukaryotic clones. Neither random sequence alteration in the target episomal gene nor random integration of the small fragments was detected. Targeted correction efficiencies of up to 4% were attained. These studies provide insight into parameters that can be modulated for the optimization of SFHR-mediated targeting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

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