Mol Ther 2013 Jun 16;21(6):1259-69. Epub 2013 Apr 16.
Laboratory for Cellular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, California, USA.
The HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5 is a validated target for HIV/AIDS therapy. The apparent elimination of HIV-1 in a patient treated with an allogeneic stem cell transplant homozygous for a naturally occurring CCR5 deletion mutation (CCR5(Δ32/Δ32)) supports the concept that a single dose of HIV-resistant hematopoietic stem cells can provide disease protection. Given the low frequency of naturally occurring CCR5(Δ32/Δ32) donors, we reasoned that engineered autologous CD34(+) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) could be used for AIDS therapy. We evaluated disruption of CCR5 gene expression in HSPCs isolated from granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (CSF)-mobilized adult blood using a recombinant adenoviral vector encoding a CCR5-specific pair of zinc finger nucleases (CCR5-ZFN). Our results demonstrate that CCR5-ZFN RNA and protein expression from the adenoviral vector is enhanced by pretreatment of HSPC with protein kinase C (PKC) activators resulting in >25% CCR5 gene disruption and that activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway is responsible for this activity. Importantly, using an optimized dose of PKC activator and adenoviral vector we could generate CCR5-modified HSPCs which engraft in a humanized mouse model (albeit at a reduced level) and support multilineage differentiation in vitro and in vivo. Together, these data establish the basis for improved approaches exploiting adenoviral vector delivery in the modification of HSPCs.