Gene therapy is a promising strategy for the treatment of several inherited and acquired human diseases. Several vector platforms exist for the delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids into cells. Vectors based on viruses are very efficient at introducing gene constructs into cells, but their use has been associated with genotoxic effects of vector integration or immunological complications due to repeated administration in vivo. Non-viral vectors are easier to engineer and manufacture, but their efficient delivery into cells is a major challenge, and the lack of their chromosomal integration precludes long-term therapeutic effects. Transposable elements are non-viral gene delivery vehicles found ubiquitously in nature. Transposon-based vectors have the capacity of stable genomic integration and long-lasting expression of transgene constructs in cells. Molecular reconstruction of Sleeping Beauty, an ancient transposon in fish, represents a cornerstone in applying transposition-mediated gene delivery in vertebrate species, including humans. This review summarizes the stateof- the-art in the application of transposable elements for therapeutic gene transfer, and identifies key targets for the development of transposon-based gene vectors with enhanced efficacy and safety for human applications.
Keywords: expression cassette, virus vectors, Tc1 transposon family, DNA Transposition, RNA interference
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