In vivo cleavage of transgene donors promotes nuclease-mediated targeted integration.


Targeted DNA integration is commonly used to eliminate position effects on transgene expression. Integration can be targeted to specific sites in the genome via both homology-based and homology-independent processes. Both pathways start the integration process with a site-specific break in the chromosome, typically from a zinc-finger nuclease (ZFN). We previously described an efficient homology-independent targeted integration technique that captures short (<100 bp) pieces of DNA at chromosomal breaks created by ZFNs. We show here that inclusion of a nuclease target site on the donor plasmid followed by in vivo nuclease cleavage of both the donor and the chromosome results in efficient integration of large, transgene-sized DNA molecules into the chromosomal double-strand break. Successful targeted integration via in vivo donor linearization is demonstrated at five distinct loci in two mammalian cell types, highlighting the generality of the approach. Finally, we show that CHO cells, a cell type recalcitrant to homology-based integration, are proficient at capture of in vivo-linearized transgene donors. Moreover, we demonstrate knockout of the hamster FUT8 gene via the simultaneous ZFN- or TALE nuclease-mediated integration of an antibody cassette. Our results enable efficient targeted transgene addition to cells and organisms that fare poorly with traditional homology-driven approaches.


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