Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) episomes are stably maintained in permissive proliferating cell lines due to EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) protein-mediated replication and segregation. Previous studies showed the ability of EBV episomes to confer long-term transgene expression and correct genetic defects in deficient cells. To achieve quantitative delivery of EBV episomes in vitro and in vivo, we developed a binary helper-dependent adenovirus (HDA)-EBV hybrid system that consists of one HDA vector for the expression of Cre recombinase and a second HDA vector that contains all of the sequences for the EBV episome flanked by loxP sites. Upon coinfection of cells, Cre expressed from the first vector recombined loxP sites on the second vector. The resulting circular EBV episomes expressed a transgene and contained the EBV-derived family of repeats, an EBNA-1 expression cassette, and 19 kb of human DNA that functions as a replication origin in mammalian cells. This HDA-EBV hybrid system transformed 40% of cultured cells. Transgene expression in proliferating cells was observed for over 20 weeks under conditions that selected for the expression of the transgene. In the absence of selection, EBV episomes were lost at a rate of 8 to 10% per cell division. Successful delivery of EBV episomes in vivo was demonstrated in the liver of transgenic mice expressing Cre from the albumin promoter. This novel gene transfer system has the potential to confer long-term episomal transgene expression and therefore to correct genetic defects with reduced vector-related toxicity and without insertional mutagenesis.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JVI.78.12.6556-6566.2004
View details for Web of Science ID 000221772000048
View details for PubMedID 15163748