Gene transfer into human hematopoietic progenitor cells with an episomal vector carrying an S/MAR element

E. P. Papapetrou, P. G. Ziros, I. D. Micheva, N. C. Zoumbos, A. Athanassiadou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Episomally maintained self-replicating systems present attractive alternative vehicles for gene therapy applications. Recent insights into the ability of chromosomal scaffold/matrix attachment regions (S/MARs) to mediate episomal maintenance of genetic elements allowed the development of a small circular episomal vector that functions independently of virally encoded proteins. In this study, we investigated the potential of this vector, pEPI-eGFP, to mediate gene transfer in hematopoietic progenitor cell lines and primary human cells. pEPI-eGFP was episomally maintained and conferred sustained eGFP expression even in nonselective conditions in the human cell line, K562, as well as in primary human fibroblast-like cells. In contrast, in the murine erythroleukemia cell line, MEL, transgene expression was silenced through histone deacetylation, despite the vector's episomal persistence. Hematopoietic semisolid cell colonies derived from transfected human cord blood CD34+ cells expressed eGFP, albeit at low levels. After 4 weeks, the vector is retained in approximately 1% of progeny cells. Our results provide the first evidence that S/MAR-based plasmids can function as stable episomes in primary human cells, supporting long-term transgene expression. However, they do not display universal behavior in all cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Episomal vector
  • Gene transfer
  • Hematopoietic progenitor cells
  • S/MARs


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene transfer into human hematopoietic progenitor cells with an episomal vector carrying an S/MAR element'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this