Minnesota Patent of the Month – October 2021

A transposable genetic element – also called a transposon – are DNA segments that can be moved from one genetic location to another within a single cell. They are decided into two major groups depending on how they are moved. Retrotransposons are moved by reverse transcription of an RNA intermediate. DNA transposons are directly transposed and have terminal inverted repeats on either end.  The latter type are widely seen in plants and animals, especially a certain class of transposons referred to as hAT. B-MoGen Biotechnologies, Inc. is a genome engineering startup out of Minneapolis who has worked with this hAT family, using a mutant TcBuster transposase to improve the efficiency of the transposon’s actions.

The hAT transposon systems use a cut and paste transposition mechanism, with each type of hAT sharing similar transposases, short terminal inverted repeats, and an 8-base-pair duplication of the genomic target. This mutant TcBuster replicates the wild-type found in nature, with a 70% identical DNA sequence. The differing 30% have changes to the amino acids which create a net charge at a neutral pH. This mutant TcBuster increases the transposition efficiency, creating a more reliable system for genome editing.

This system could be used in genome editing of a patient with cancer or tumors. This diagnosis could be treated by introducing a transposon and the mutant TcBuster into a cell, creating a genetically modified cell. This modified cell could then be administered to the patient. The modified cell could create primary leukocytes designed to create immunity against the cancer – or other diseases. 

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