Development of a FLP/frt System for Generating Helper-Dependent Adenoviral Vectors
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Helper-dependent (HD) adenoviral vectors devoid of all viral coding sequences have a large cloning capacity and have been reported to provide long-term transgene expression in vivo with negligible toxicity, making them attractive vectors for gene therapy. Currently, the most efficient means of generating HD vectors involves co-infecting 293 cells expressing Cre with the HD vector and a helper virus bearing a packaging signal flanked by loxP sites. Cre-mediated excision of the packaging signal renders the helper virus genome unpackageable but still able to replicate and to provide helper functions for HD vector propagation. HD vector titer is increased by serial co-infections. Typically, helper virus contamination is < or =1% pre- and < or =0.1% postpurification by CsCl banding. While these contamination levels are low, further reduction is desirable. Alternative methods of selection against the helper virus may achieve this goal, especially when combined with Cre/loxP. We describe the development of a system for generating HD vectors based on site-specific recombination between frt sites catalyzed by FLP recombinase and show by direct comparison that the FLP/frt and Cre/loxP systems are equivalent with respect to HD vector amplification efficiency and helper virus contamination levels. Availability of a second recombinase system for HD vector production will enhance the utility and flexibility of HD vectors.
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