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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Simultaneous non-contiguous deletions using large synthetic DNA and site-specific recombinases.

Toward achieving rapid and large scale genome modification directly in a target organism, we have developed a new genome engineering strategy that uses a combination of bioinformatics aided design, large synthetic DNA and site-specific recombinases. Using Cre recombinase we swapped a target 126-kb segment of the Escherichia coli genome with a 72-kb synthetic DNA cassette, thereby effectively eliminating over 54 kb of genomic DNA from three non-contiguous regions in a single recombination event. We observed complete replacement of the native sequence with the modified synthetic sequence through the action of the Cre recombinase and no competition from homologous recombination. Because…

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Vector design Tour de Force: integrating combinatorial and rational approaches to derive novel adeno-associated virus variants.

Methodologies to improve existing adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy include either rational approaches or directed evolution to derive capsid variants characterized by superior transduction efficiencies in targeted tissues. Here, we integrated both approaches in one unified design strategy of “virtual family shuffling” to derive a combinatorial capsid library whereby only variable regions on the surface of the capsid are modified. Individual sublibraries were first assembled in order to preselect compatible amino acid residues within restricted surface-exposed regions to minimize the generation of dead-end variants. Subsequently, the successful families were interbred to derive a combined library of ~8?×?10(5) complexity.…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Reduction of nonspecificity motifs in synthetic antibody libraries.

Successful antibody development requires both functional binding and desirable biophysical characteristics. In the current study, we analyze the causes of one hurdle to clinical development, off-target reactivity, or nonspecificity. We used a high-throughput nonspecificity assay to isolate panels of nonspecific antibodies from two synthetic single-chain variable fragment libraries expressed on the surface of yeast, identifying both individual amino acids and motifs within the complementarity-determining regions which contribute to the phenotype. We find enrichment of glycine, valine, and arginine as both individual amino acids and as a part of motifs, and additionally enrichment of motifs containing tryptophan. Insertion of any of…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Pol V-mediated translesion synthesis elicits localized untargeted mutagenesis during post-replicative gap repair.

In vivo, replication forks proceed beyond replication-blocking lesions by way of downstream repriming, generating daughter strand gaps that are subsequently processed by post-replicative repair pathways such as homologous recombination and translesion synthesis (TLS). The way these gaps are filled during TLS is presently unknown. The structure of gap repair synthesis was assessed by sequencing large collections of single DNA molecules that underwent specific TLS events in vivo. The higher error frequency of specialized relative to replicative polymerases allowed us to visualize gap-filling events at high resolution. Unexpectedly, the data reveal that a specialized polymerase, Pol V, synthesizes stretches of DNA both upstream and…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

De novo assembly, delivery and expression of a 101 kb human gene in mouse cells

Design and large-scale synthesis of DNA has been applied to the functional study of viral and microbial genomes. New and expanded technology development is required to unlock the transformative potential of such bottom-up approaches to the study of larger, mammalian genomes. Two major challenges include assembling and delivering long DNA sequences. Here we describe a pipeline for de novo DNA assembly and delivery that enables functional evaluation of mammalian genes on the length scale of 100 kb. The DNA assembly step is supported by an integrated robotic workcell. We assemble the 101 kb human HPRT1 gene in yeast, deliver it…

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