Engineered Sleeping Beauty Transposon as Efficient System to Optimize Chimp Adenoviral Production

Sleeping Beauty (SB) is the first DNA transposon employed for efficient transposition in vertebrate cells, opening new applications for genetic engineering and gene therapies. A transposonbased gene delivery system holds the favourable features of non-viral vectors and an attractive safety profile. Here, we employed SB to engineer HEK293 cells for optimizing the production of a chimpanzee Adenovector (chAd) belonging to the Human Mastadenovirus C species. To date, chAd vectors are employed in several clinical settings for infectious diseases, last but not least COVID-19. A robust, efficient and quick viral vector production could advance the clinical application of chAd vectors. To this aim, we firstly swapped the hAd5 E1 with chAd-C E1 gene by using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. We demonstrated that in the absence of human Ad5 E1, chimp Ad-C E1 gene did not support HEK293 survival. To improve chAd-C vector production, we engineered HEK293 cells to stably express the chAd-C precursor terminal protein (ch.pTP), which plays a crucial role in chimpanzee Adenoviral DNA replication. The results indicate that exogenous ch.pTP expression significantly ameliorate the packaging and amplification of recombinant chAd-C vectors thus, the engineered HEK293ch.pTP cells could represent a superior packaging cell line for the production of these vectors.