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Abstract

Corrective gene transfer for therapeutic intervention in metabolic and hematopoietic disorders has been hampered by the relatively inefficient transduction of human hematopoietic stem cells. To overcome this, a bicistronic recombinant retrovirus has been generated that delivers both a therapeutic glucocerebrosidase (GC) cDNA for the treatment of Gaucher disease, and a small murine cell surface antigen (heat-stable antigen [HSA]) as a selectable marker. An amphotropic retroviral- producing cell clone was created, and filtered supernatant was used to transduce NIH 3T3 cells. Sorting of transduced cells by flow cytometry enabled separation into populations based on cell surface fluorescence intensity derived from the expressed HSA. Significant increases in GC enzyme activity were seen for the transduced and especially the transduced and sorted cells. Similarly, increases in GC specific activity were seen in transduced and sorted skin fibroblasts from a patient with Gaucher disease. To streamline future transfer and sorting protocols for hematopoietic cells, transformed B-cell lines from Gaucher patients were created. Type I B cells were transduced and sorted, and large increases in GC specific activity occurred with concomitant increases in integrated retroviral copy numbers. In addition, toward the goal of using this selectable approach for corrective gene transfer to bone marrow stem cells, CD34+ cells were isolated from normal BM donors, transduced, and sorted based on cell surface expression of HSA. Proviral DNA was detected in approximately 40% of clonogenic progenitor colonies derived from unsorted, transduced CD34+ cells, demonstrating the high titer of the vector. However, after sorting, 100% of the colonies had the corrective GC cDNA, demonstrating the efficiency of this selective system for human hematopoietic progenitors. It is expected that strategies based on this approach will allow sorting of transduced cells of many types before implantation of transduced cells to animals or patients. This vector system may also be used to simplify manipulations and studies on retroviral-mediated gene delivery in vitro and for in vivo models.