Using a clinically relevant transduction strategy, we investigated to what extent hematopoietic stem cells in lineage-negative bone marrow (Linneg BM) could be genetically modified with a FV vector that expresses the DNA repair protein, O6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMTP140K) and selected in vivo with submyeloablative versus myeloablative alkylator therapy.
Linneg BM was transduced at a low multiplicity-of-infection (MOI), with the FV vector, MD9-P140K, that co-expresses MGMTP140K and the enhanced green fluorescent protein, transplanted into C57BL/6 mice, and mice treated with submyeloablative or myeloablative alkylator therapy. The BM was analyzed for the presence of in vivo selected, MD9-P140K-transduced cells at 6 months post-transplantation and subsequently transplanted into secondary recipient animals.
Following submyeloablative therapy, 55% of the mice expressed MGMTP140K in the BM. Proviral integration was observed in ∼50% of committed BM-derived progenitors and analysis of proviral insertion sites indicated up to 2 integrations per transduced progenitor colony. Transduced BM cells selected with submyeloablative therapy reconstituted secondary recipient mice for up to 6 months post-transplantation. In contrast, following delivery of myeloablative therapy to primary recipient mice, only 25% survived. Hematopoietic stem cells were transduced since BM cells from the surviving animals reconstituted secondary recipients with MGMTP140K positive cells for 5-6 months.
In vivo selection of MD9-P140K-transduced BM cells was more efficient following submyeloablative versus myeloablative therapy. These data indicate that a critical number of transduced-stem cells must be present to produce sufficient numbers of genetically modified progeny to protect against the acute toxicity associated with myeloablative therapy.