Gene transfer to the central nervous system provides powerful methodology for the study of gene function and gene-environment interactions in vivo, in addition to a vehicle for the delivery of therapeutic transgenes for gene therapy. The aim of the present study was to determine patterns of tropism exhibited by pseudotyped lentiviral vectors in the rat substantia nigra, in order to evaluate their utility for gene transfer in experimental models of Parkinson’s disease. Isogenic lentiviral vector particles encoding a GFP reporter were pseudotyped with envelope glycoproteins derived from vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Mokola virus (MV), lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), or Moloney murine leukemia virus (MuLV). Adult male Lewis rats received unilateral stereotactic infusions of vector into the substantia nigra; three weeks later, patterns of viral transduction were determined by immunohistological detection of GFP. Different pseudotypes gave rise to transgene expression in restricted and distinct cellular populations. VSV and MV pseudotypes transduced midbrain neurons, including a subset of nigral dopaminergic neurons. In contrast, LCMV and MuLV-pseudotyped lentivirus produced transgene expression exclusively in astrocytes; the restricted transduction of astroglial cells was not explained by the cellular distribution of receptors previously shown to mediate entry of LCMV or MuLV. These data suggest that pseudotyped lentiviral vectors will be useful for experimental gene transfer to the rat substantia nigra. In particular, the availability of neuronal and astrocytic-targeting vectors will allow dissociation of cell-autonomous and cell non-autonomous functions of key gene products in vivo.
lentivirus; pseudotype; vesicular stomatitis virus; mokola virus; lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus; moloney murine leukemia virus; tropism; substantia nigra; Parkinson’s disease
Vectors derived from lentiviruses provide a promising gene delivery system. We examined the in vivo gene transfer efficiency and tissue or cell tropism of a feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-based lentiviral vector pseudotyped with the glycoproteins from Ross River Virus (RRV). RRV glycoproteins were efficiently incorporated into FIV virions, generating preparations of FIV vector, which after concentration attain titers up to 1.5 × 108 TU/ml. After systemic administration, RRV-pseudotyped FIV vectors (RRV/FIV) predominantly transduced the liver of recipient mice. Transduction efficiency in the liver with the RRV/FIV was ca. 20-fold higher than that achieved with the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G) pseudotype. Moreover, in comparison to VSV-G, the RRV glycoproteins caused less cytotoxicity, as determined from the levels of glutamic pyruvic transaminase and glutamic oxalacetic transaminase in serum. Although hepatocytes were the main liver cell type transduced, nonhepatocytes (mainly Kupffer cells) were also transduced. The percentages of the transduced nonhepatocytes were comparable between RRV and VSV-G pseudotypes and did not correlate with the production of antibody against the transgene product. After injection into brain, RRV/FIV preferentially transduced neuroglial cells (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes). In contrast to the VSV-G protein that targets predominantly neurons, <10% of the brain cells transduced with the RRV pseudotyped vector were neurons. Finally, the gene transfer efficiencies of RRV/FIV after direct application to skeletal muscle or airway were also examined and, although transgene-expressing cells were detected, their proportions were low. Our data support the utility of RRV glycoprotein-pseudotyped FIV lentiviral vectors for hepatocyte- and neuroglia-related disease applications.
Glioblastoma is the most frequent and most malignant primary brain tumor with a poor prognosis. The translation of therapeutic strategies for glioblastoma from the experimental phase into the clinic has been limited by insufficient animal models, which lack important features of human tumors. Lentiviral gene therapy is an attractive therapeutic option for human glioblastoma, which we validated in a clinically relevant animal model.
We used a rodent xenograft model that recapitulates the invasive and angiogenic features of human glioblastoma to analyze the transduction pattern and therapeutic efficacy of lentiviral pseudotyped vectors. Both, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus glycoprotein (LCMV-GP) and vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (VSV-G) pseudotyped lentiviral vectors very efficiently transduced human glioblastoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In contrast, pseudotyped gammaretroviral vectors, similar to those evaluated for clinical therapy of glioblastoma, showed inefficient gene transfer in vitro and in vivo. Both pseudotyped lentiviral vectors transduced cancer stem-like cells characterized by their CD133-, nestin- and SOX2-expression, the ability to form spheroids in neural stem cell medium and to express astrocytic and neuronal differentiation markers under serum conditions. In a therapeutic approach using the suicide gene herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-1-tk) fused to eGFP, both lentiviral vectors mediated a complete remission of solid tumors as seen on MRI resulting in a highly significant survival benefit (p<0.001) compared to control groups. In all recurrent tumors, surviving eGFP-positive tumor cells were found, advocating prodrug application for several cycles to even enhance and prolong the therapeutic effect.
In conclusion, lentiviral pseudotyped vectors are promising candidates for gene therapy of glioma in patients. The inefficient gene delivery by gammaretroviral vectors is in line with the results obtained in clinical therapy for GBM and thus confirms the high reproducibility of the invasive glioma animal model for translational research.
Pdx1 (pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1), Ngn3 (neurogenin 3) and MafA (v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene family, protein A) have been reported to bring about the transdifferentiation of pancreatic exocrine cells to beta (β) cells in vivo. We have investigated the mechanism of this process using a standard in vitro model of pancreatic exocrine cells, the rat AR42j-B13 cell line. We constructed a new adenoviral vector encoding all three genes, called Ad-PNM (adenoviral Pdx1, Ngn3, MafA construct). When introduced into AR42j-B13 cells, Ad-PNM caused a rapid change to a flattened morphology and a cessation of cell division. The expression of exocrine markers is suppressed. Both insulin genes are up-regulated as well as a number of transcription factors normally characteristic of beta cells. At the chromatin level, histone tail modifications of the Pdx1, Ins1 (insulin 1) and Ins2 (insulin 2) gene promoters are shifted in a direction associated with gene activity, and the level of DNA CpG methylation is reduced at the Ins1 promoter. The transformed cells secrete insulin and are capable of relieving diabetes in streptozotocin-treated NOD-SCID (non-obese diabetic severe combined immunodeficiency) mice. However the transformation is not complete. The cells lack expression of several genes important for beta cell function and they do not show glucose-sensitive insulin secretion. We conclude that, for this exocrine cell model, although the transformation is dramatic, the reprogramming is not complete and lacks critical aspects of the beta cell phenotype.
AR42j-B13 cells; beta (β) cell; diabetes; direct reprogramming; insulin; Abcc8, ATP-binding cassette C8; Ad-PNM, adenoviral Pdx1, Ngn3, MafA construct; anti-anti, antibiotic-antimycotic; araC, cytosine arabinofuranoside; Arx, aristaless related homeobox; ChIP, chromatin immunoprecipitation; Cpa, carboxypeptidase A1; Cpe, carboxypeptidase E; DAPI, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; DMEM, Dulbecco's modified Eagles medium; Edu, 5′-ethynl-2′-deoxyuridine; FBS, fetal bovine serum; Gapdh, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; Gcg, glucagon; GFP, green fluorescent protein; H3Ac, acetylated histone H3; Hes1, hairy and enhancer of split 1; H3K4Me3, trimethylated Lys4 of histone 3; H3K9Me2, dimethylated Lys9 of histone 3; H3K27Me3, trimethylated Lys27 of histone 3; Iapp, islet amyloid peptide; Ins, insulin; IRPT, immortalized rat kidney proximal tubular; Isl1, ISL1 transcription factor, LIM/homeodomain; Kcnj11, potassium inwardly rectifying channel; KRB, Krebs–Ringer buffer; LB, Luria–Bertani; mAb, monoclonal antibody; Mafa, v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene family, protein A; Mnx1, motor neuron and pancreas homeobox 1; MOI, multiplicity of infection; Neurod1, neurogenic differentiation 1; Ngn3, neurogenin 3; Nkx, natural killer 2 transcription factor related; NOD-SCID, non-obese diabetic severe combined immunodeficiency; Pax, paired box gene; PBS-T, 0.1% Tween 20 in PBS; Pcsk2, proprotein convertase subtilisin/Kexin type 2; Pdx1, pancreatic and duodenal homeobox; Ppy, pancreatic polypeptide; Prss1, trypsin 1; Ptf1A, pancreas-specific transcription factor 1a; qPCR, quantitative PCR; Rbpj1, recombination signal binding protein for Igκ; RT–PCR, reverse transcription–PCR; qRT–PCR, quantitative RT–PCR; Slc2a2, solute carrier family 2; Sst, somatostatin; STZ, streptozotocin; TAE, Tris/acetate/EDTA
Type 1 diabetes results from the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells. Exogenous insulin therapy cannot achieve precise physiological control of blood glucose concentrations, and debilitating complications develop. Lentiviral vectors are promising tools for liver-directed gene therapy. However, to date, transduction rates in vivo remain low in hepatocytes, without the induction of cell cycling. We investigated long-term transgene expression in quiescent hepatocytes in vitro and determined whether the lentiviral delivery of furin-cleavable insulin to the liver could reverse diabetes in rats.
Materials and methods
To improve transduction efficiency in vitro, we optimised hepatocyte isolation and maintenance protocols and, using an improved surgical delivery method, delivered furin-cleavable insulin alone or empty vector to the livers of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats by means of a lentiviral vector. Rats were monitored for changes in body weight and blood glucose, and intravenous glucose tolerance tests were performed. Expression of insulin was determined by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy.
We achieved long-term transgene expression in quiescent hepatocytes in vitro (87 ± 1.2% transduction efficiency), with up to 60 ± 3.2% transduction in vivo. We normalised blood glucose for 500 days—a significantly longer period than previously reported—making this the first successful study using a lentiviral vector. This procedure resulted in the expression of genes encoding several beta cell transcription factors, some pancreatic endocrine transdifferentiation, hepatic insulin storage in granules, and restoration of glucose tolerance. Liver function tests remained normal. Importantly, pancreatic exocrine transdifferentiation did not occur.
Our data suggest that this regimen may ultimately be employed for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
Beta cell transcription factors; Gene therapy; Hepatocytes; Insulin storage; Lentiviral vector; Type 1 diabetes; Wistar rats
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential of a T-cell-related targeting method using a lentiviral vector-based gene delivery system.
Materials and Methods
A lentiviral vector system was constructed by co-incorporating an anti-CD3 antibody (OKT3) and a fusogen into individual viral particles. The incorporation of OKT3 and fusogen was analyzed using confocal microscopy and the in vitro transduction efficiency was evaluated using flow cytometry. Blocking reagents (ammonium chloride (NH4Cl) and soluble OKT3 antibody) were added into vector supernatants during transduction to study the mechanism of this two-molecule targeting strategy. To demonstrate the ability of targeted transduction in vivo, Jurkat.CD3 cells were xenografted subcutaneously into the right flank of each mouse and the lentiviral vector was injected subcutaneously on both sides of each mouse 8 hours post-injection. Subsequently, the reporter gene (firefly luciferase) expression was monitored using a noninvasive bioluminescence imaging system.
By co-displaying OKT3 and fusogen on the single lentiviral surface, we could achieve targeted delivery of genes to CD3-positive T-cells both in vitro and in vivo.
These results suggest the potential utility of this engineered lentiviral system as a new tool for cell type-directed gene delivery.
gene therapy; targeted gene delivery; lentiviral vectors; CD3 antigen
Monocyte-derived macrophages contribute to atherosclerotic plaque formation. Therefore, manipulating macrophage function could have significant therapeutic value. The objective of this study was to determine transduction efficiency of two HIV-based lentiviral vector configurations as delivery systems for the transduction of primary human blood monocyte-derived macrophages.
Human blood monocytes were transduced using two VSV-G pseudotyped HIV-1 based lentiviral vectors containing EGFP expression driven by either native HIV-LTR (VRX494) or EF1α promoters (VRX1090). Lentiviral vectors were added to cultured macrophages at different times and multiplicities of infection (MOI). Transduction efficiency was assessed using fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Macrophages transduced between 2 and 120 hours after culturing showed the highest transduction efficiency at 2-hours transduction time. Subsequently, cells were transduced 2 hours after culturing at various vector concentrations (MOIs of 5, 10, 25 and 50) to determine the amount of lentiviral vector particles required to maximally transduce human monocyte-derived macrophages. On day 7, all transduced cultures showed EGFP-positive cells by microscopy. Flow cytometric analysis showed with all MOIs a peak shift corresponding to the presence of EGFP-positive cells. For VRX494, transduction efficiency was maximal at an MOI of 25 to 50 and ranged between 58 and 67%. For VRX1090, transduction efficiency was maximal at an MOI of 10 and ranged between 80 and 90%. Thus, transductions performed with VRX1090 showed a higher number of EGFP-positive cells than VRX494.
This report shows that VSV-G pseudotyped HIV-based lentiviral vectors can efficiently transduce human blood monocyte-derived macrophages early during differentiation using low particle numbers that do not interfere with differentiation of monocytes into macrophages.
Recombinant retroviruses, including lentiviruses, are the most widely used vectors for both in vitro and in vivo stable gene transfer. However, the inability to selectively deliver transgenes into cells of interest limits the use of this technology. Due to its wide tropism, stability and ability to pseudotype a range of viral vectors, vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G) is the most commonly used pseudotyping protein. Here, we attempted to engineer this protein for targeting purposes. Chimaeric VSV-G proteins were constructed by linking a cell-directing single-chain antibody (scFv) to its N-terminal. We show that the chimaeric VSV-G molecules can integrate into retroviral and lentiviral particles. HIV-1 particles pseudotyped with VSV-G linked to an scFv against human Major Histocompatibility Complex class I (MHC-I) bind strongly and specifically to human cells. Also, this novel molecule preferentially drives lentiviral transduction of human cells, although the titre is considerably lower that viruses pseudotyped with VSV-G. This is likely due to the inefficient fusion activity of the modified protein. To our knowledge, this is the first report where VSV-G was successfully engineered to include a large (253 amino acids) exogenous peptide and where attempts were made to change the infection profile of VSV-G pseudotyped vectors.
Primary cell culture is an established and widely used technique to study Sertoli cell function in vitro. However, the relative difficulty of stably overexpressing or knocking down genes in Sertoli cell culture has limited progress in the field. In this technical report, we present a method to transduce 20 dpp rat Sertoli cell cultures with VSV-G pseudotyped lentiviral based vectors at a high rate (~80%), with stable reporter gene expression. Although high transgene expression is desirable, it was noted that at transduction rates > 60% inter-Sertoli cell tight junction integrity and, hence, Sertoli cell function, were transiently compromised. We envisage that this optimized procedure has the potential to stimulate Sertoli cell research, and motivate the use of Sertoli cells in various cell therapy applications.
Sertoli cell; transduction; lentivirus; spinoculation; cell therapy; testis; GFP
Müller glia play crucial roles in retinal homeostasis and function. Genetic modification of Müller cells by viral gene delivery would be valuable for studies of their normal physiology and roles in retinal disease states. However, stable and efficient transgene expression in Müller cells after delivery of gene transfer vectors has remained elusive. Transcriptional and transductional targeting approaches were used to engineer recombinant HIV-1-based lentiviral (LV) vectors capable of highly efficient and sustained Müller cell transgene expression in healthy and diseased rodent retinas.
Expression cassettes containing glia-specific promoters (CD44, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and vimentin) and an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) cDNA were cloned into LV backbones, which were packaged into infectious vector particles displaying either the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) or Ross River virus (RRV) envelope surface glycoproteins. Vectors were injected by intravitreal and subretinal approaches in wild type Sprague-Dawley (SD) and retinal degenerate S334Ter+/− transgenic rats aged 1 to 180 days. In vivo fluorescent fundus imaging and immunofluorescent confocal microscopy were used for comparison of expression efficiency, cell type specificity, and temporal expression characteristics.
The choice of viral pseudotype, regulatory promoter, and surgical delivery site each had a measurable effect on the level of eGFP transgene expression in Müller cells. The highest expression levels in SD retinas were attained with subretinal injection of VSV-G pseudotyped LV vectors containing the CD44 promoter. With these vectors, persistent eGFP expression in Müller glia was observed for more than 6 months, covering 25% to 30% of the retinal surface area after a single subretinal injection. Immunohistochemistry (α-glutamine synthetase) revealed that approximately 95% of the Müller cells were transduced in the region near the injection site. Delivery of these viral vectors and subsequent Müller cell eGFP expression had no negative impact on visual function, as assessed by electroretinography (ERG).
Pseudotyped LV vectors containing glia-specific promoters efficiently transduce and direct sustained transgene expression in retinal Müller glia. Vectors of this type will be useful for experimental treatment of retinal disease, as well as for physiological and developmental investigations of the retina.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is a deadly malignancy resistant to current therapies. It is critical to test new strategies, including tumor-targeted delivery of therapeutic agents. This study tested the possibility to target the transfer of a suicide gene in tumor cells using an oncotropic lentiviral vector.
Three cell surface markers were evaluated to target the transduction of cells by lentiviruses pseudotyped with a modified glycoprotein from Sindbis virus. Only Mucin-4 and the Claudin-18 proteins were found efficient for targeted lentivirus transductions in vitro. In subcutaneous xenografts of human pancreatic cancer cells models, Claudin-18 failed to achieve efficient gene transfer but Mucin-4 was found very potent. Human pancreatic tumor cells were modified to express a fluorescent protein detectable in live animals by bioimaging, to perform a direct non invasive and costless follow up of the tumor growth. Targeted gene transfer of a bicistronic transgene bearing a luciferase gene and the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene into orthotopic grafts was carried out with Mucin-4 oncotropic lentiviruses. By contrast to the broad tropism VSV-G carrying lentivirus, this oncotropic lentivirus was found to transduce specifically tumor cells, sparing normal pancreatic cells in vivo. Transduced cells disappeared after ganciclovir treatment while the orthotopic tumor growth was slowed down.
This work considered for the first time three aspect of pancreatic adenocarcinoma targeted therapy. First, lentiviral transduction of human pancreatic tumor cells was possible when cells were grafted orthotopically. Second, we used a system targeting the tumor cells with cell surface antigens and sparing the normal cells. Finally, the TK/GCV anticancer system showed promising results in vivo. Importantly, the approach presented here appeared to be a safer, much more specific and an as efficient way to perform gene delivery in pancreatic tumors, in comparison with a broad tropism lentivirus. This study will be useful in future designing of targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Targeted therapy; Surface marker
Lentivector-mediated gene delivery into the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is a promising method for exploring pain pathophysiology and for genetic treatment of chronic neuropathic pain. In this study, a series of modified lentivector particles with different cellular promoters, envelope glycoproteins, and viral accessory proteins were generated to evaluate the requirements for efficient transduction into neuronal cells in vitro and adult rat DRG in vivo.
In vitro, lentivectors expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under control of the human elongation factor 1α (EF1α) promoter and pseudotyped with the conventional vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G) envelope exhibited the best performance in the transfer of EGFP into an immortalized DRG sensory neuron cell line at low multiplicities of infection (MOIs), and into primary cultured DRG neurons at higher MOIs. In vivo, injection of either first or second-generation EF1α-EGFP lentivectors directly into adult rat DRGs led to transduction rates of 19 ± 9% and 20 ± 8% EGFP-positive DRG neurons, respectively, detected at 4 weeks post injection. Transduced cells included a full range of neuronal phenotypes, including myelinated neurons as well as both non-peptidergic and peptidergic nociceptive unmyelinated neurons.
VSV-G pseudotyped lentivectors containing the human elongation factor 1α (EF1α)-EGFP expression cassette demonstrated relatively efficient transduction to sensory neurons following direct injection into the DRG. These results clearly show the potential of lentivectors as a viable system for delivering target genes into DRGs to explore basic mechanisms of neuropathic pain, with the potential for future clinical use in treating chronic pain.
Vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein (VSV-G) is the most widely used envelope protein for retroviral and lentiviral vector pseudotyping; however, serum inactivation of VSV-G pseudotyped vectors is a significant challenge for in vivo gene delivery. To address this problem, we conducted directed evolution of VSV-G to increase its resistance to human serum neutralization. After six selection cycles, numerous common mutations were present. Based on their location within VSV-G, we analyzed whether substitutions in several surface exposed residues could endow viral vectors with higher resistance to serum. S162T, T230N, and T368A mutations enhanced serum resistance, and additionally K66T, T368A, and E380K substitutions increased the thermostability of VSV-G pseudotyped retroviral vectors, an advantageous byproduct of the selection strategy. Analysis of a number of combined mutants revealed that VSV-G harboring T230N + T368A or K66T + S162T + T230N + T368A mutations exhibited both higher in vitro resistance to human serum and higher thermostability, as well as enhanced resistance to rabbit and mouse serum. Finally, lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with these variants were more resistant to human serum in a murine model. These serum-resistant and thermostable VSV-G variants may aid the application of retroviral and lentiviral vectors to gene therapy.
serum-resistant; thermostable; VSV-G; directed evolution; pseudotyping
Prolonged, altered hematopoietic reconstitution is commonly observed in patients undergoing myeloablative conditioning and bone marrow and/or mobilized peripheral blood-derived stem cell transplantation. We studied the reconstitution of myeloid and lymphoid compartments after the transplantation of autologous CD34+ bone marrow cells following gamma irradiation in cynomolgus macaques.
The bone marrow cells were first transduced ex vivo with a lentiviral vector encoding eGFP, with a mean efficiency of 72% ± 4%. The vector used was derived from the simian immunodeficiency lentivirus SIVmac251, VSV-g pseudotyped and encoded eGFP under the control of the phosphoglycerate kinase promoter. After myeloid differentiation, GFP was detected in colony-forming cells (37% ± 10%). A previous study showed that transduction rates did not differ significantly between colony-forming cells and immature cells capable of initiating long-term cultures, indicating that progenitor cells and highly immature hematopoietic cells were transduced with similar efficiency. Blood cells producingeGFP were detected as early as three days after transplantation, and eGFP-producing granulocyte and mononuclear cells persisted for more than one year in the periphery.
The transplantation of CD34+ bone marrow cells had beneficial effects for the ex vivo proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitors, favoring reconstitution of the T- and B-lymphocyte, thrombocyte and red blood cell compartments.
Adenoviral vectors have provided effective methods for in vivo gene delivery in therapeutic applications. However, these vectors can induce immune responses that may severely affect the ability of vector re-application. There is limited information about the mechanisms and signal transduction pathways involved in adenoviral recognition. For optimization of cutaneous gene therapy it is necessary to investigate molecular mechanisms of virus recognition in epidermal cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the signal transduction of the innate immunity after adenoviral DNA internalization in keratinocytes.
In vitro, keratinocytes were transfected with DNA, in the presence and absence of inhibitors for signalling molecules. In vivo, immunocompetent and athymic mice (n = 3 per group) were twice transduced with an Ad-vector.
The results show an acute induction of type-I-interferon after in vitro transfection. Inhibition of PI3K, p38 MAPK, JNK and NFkappaB resulted in a decreased expression of type-I-interferon. In contrast to immunocompetent mice, athymic mice demonstrated a constant transgene expression and reduced inflammatory response in vivo.
The results suggest an induction of the innate immunity triggered by cytoplasm localised DNA which is mediated by PI3K-, p38 MAPK-, JNK-, NFkappaB-, JAK/STAT- and ERK1/2-dependent pathways. A stable transgene expression and a reduced inflammatory response in immunodeficient mice have been observed. These results provide potential for an effective adenoviral gene delivery into immunosupressed skin.
Bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted considerable attention as tools for the systemic delivery of therapeutic proteins in vivo, and the ability to efficiently transfer genes of interest into such cells would create a number of therapeutic opportunities. We have designed and tested a series of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-based vectors and vectors based on the oncogenic murine stem cell virus to deliver and express transgenes in human MSCs. These vectors were pseudotyped with either the vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G) glycoprotein (GP) or the feline endogenous virus RD114 envelope GP. Transduction efficiencies and transgene expression levels in MSCs were analyzed by quantitative flow cytometry and quantitative real-time PCR. While transduction efficiencies with virus particles pseudotyped with the VSV-G GP were found to be high, RD114 pseudotypes revealed transduction efficiencies that were 1 to 2 orders of magnitude below those observed with VSV-G pseudotypes. However, chimeric RD114 GPs, with the transmembrane and extracellular domains fused to the cytoplasmic domain derived from the amphotropic Moloney murine leukemia virus 4070A GP, revealed about 15-fold higher titers relative to the unmodified RD114 GP. The transduction efficiencies in human MSCs of HIV-1-based vectors pseudotyped with the chimeric RD114 GP were similar to those obtained with HIV-1 vectors pseudotyped with the VSV-G GP. Our results also indicate that RD114 pseudotypes were less toxic than VSV-G pseudotypes in human MSC progenitor assays. Taken together, these results suggest that lentivirus pseudotypes bearing alternative Env GPs provide efficient tools for ex vivo modification of human MSCs.
Targeting gene therapy vectors that can home in on desired cell and tissue types in vivo comprise the ultimate gene delivery system. We have previously developed targeting lentiviral vectors by pseudotyping vectors with modified Sindbis virus envelope proteins. The envelope protein contains the Fc-binding region of protein A (ZZ domain), so the virus can be conjugated with antibodies. The conjugated antibody mediates specific transduction of the cells and tissues expressing the target antigens, both in vitro and in vivo. However, more stable conjugation of targeting molecules would be optimal for use in immunocompetent animals, as well as in humans.
We inserted integrin-targeting peptides into two sites of the targeting envelope proteins and determined whether the peptides serve as receptor-binding regions of the envelope proteins and redirect the pseudotyped viruses.
The integrin-targeting peptides can mediate binding to cells via the interaction with integrins on target cells and transduction. Peptides with a higher binding affinity increase titers of pseudotyped virus. We found two regions on the envelope protein that can accommodate insertion and serve as receptor-binding regions. Combining the peptides in two distinct regions increased the titers of the virus.
Successful incorporation of targeting molecules into the envelope protein will broaden the application of targeting vectors for a wide variety of experimental and clinical settings. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
integrin; lentiviral vector; RGD peptide; Sindbis virus envelope; targeting vector
In human gene therapy applications, lentiviral vectors may have advantages over gamma-retroviral vectors because of their ability to transduce non-dividing cells, their resistance to gene silencing, and a lack of integration site preference. In this study, we utilized VSV-G pseudotype third generation lentiviral vectors harboring specific anti-tumor T-cell receptor (TCR) to establish clinical-scale lentiviral transduction of PBL. Spinoculation (1000 × g, 32°C for 2 h) in the presence of protamine sulfate represents the most efficient and economical approach to transduce a large number of PBLs compared to RetroNectin-based methods. Up to 20 million cells per well of a 6-well plate were efficiently transduced and underwent an average 50-fold expansion in two weeks. TCR transduced PBL mediated specific anti-tumor activities including IFN-γ release and cell lysis. Compared to gamma-retroviral vectors, the TCR transgene could be preferentially expressed on a less-differentiated cell population.
Lentivirus; T-cell receptor; Adoptive immunotherapy; Gene therapy
Lentiviral vectors are efficient gene delivery vehicles for therapeutic and research applications. In contrast to oncoretroviral vectors, they are able to infect most nonproliferating cells. In the liver, induction of cell proliferation dramatically improved hepatocyte transduction using all types of retroviral vectors. However, the precise relationship between hepatocyte division and transduction efficiency has not been determined yet. Here we compared gene transfer efficiency in the liver after in vivo injection of recombinant lentiviral or Moloney murine leukemia viral (MoMuLV) vectors in hepatectomized rats treated or not with retrorsine, an alkaloid that blocks hepatocyte division and induces megalocytosis. Partial hepatectomy alone resulted in a similar increase in hepatocyte transduction using either vector. In retrorsine-treated and partially hepatectomized rats, transduction with MoMuLV vectors dropped dramatically. In contrast, we observed that retrorsine treatment combined with partial hepatectomy increased lentiviral transduction to higher levels than hepatectomy alone. Analysis of nuclear ploidy in single cells showed that a high level of transduction was associated with polyploidization. In conclusion, endoreplication could be exploited to improve the efficiency of liver-directed lentiviral gene therapy.
Pichard and colleagues examine the relationship between lentiviral transduction efficiency and the hepatocyte cell cycle. They demonstrate that in vivo retrorsine treatment, which blocks cells in interphase, combined with partial hepatectomy leads to a significant increase in lentiviral transduction in rats compared with hepatectomy alone. Subsequent analysis of nuclear ploidy in single cells revealed that high levels of transduction were associated with polyploidization.
The ability to efficiently and selectively target gene delivery vectors to specific cell types in vitro and in vivo remains one of the formidable challenges in gene therapy. We pursued two different strategies to target lentiviral vector delivery to specific cell types. In one of the strategies, vector particles bearing a membrane-bound stem cell factor sequence plus a separate fusion protein based either on Sindbis virus strain TR339 glycoproteins or the vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein were used to selectively transduce cells expressing the corresponding stem cell factor receptor (c-kit). An alternative approach involved soluble avian sarcoma/leukosis virus receptors fused to cell-specific ligands including stem cell factor and erythropoietin for targeting lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with avian sarcoma/leukosis virus envelope proteins to cells that express the corresponding receptors.
The titers of unconcentrated vector particles bearing Sindbis virus strain TR339 or vesicular stomatitis virus G fusion proteins plus stem cell factor in the context of c-kit expressing cells were up to 3.2 × 105 transducing units per ml while vector particles lacking the stem cell factor ligand displayed titers that were approximately 80 fold lower. On cells that lacked the c-kit receptor, the titers of stem cell factor-containing vectors were approximately 40 times lower compared to c-kit-expressing cells.
Lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with avian sarcoma/leukosis virus subgroup A or B envelope proteins and bearing bi-functional bridge proteins encoding erythropoietin or stem cell factor fused to the soluble extracellular domains of the avian sarcoma/leukosis virus subgroup A or B receptors resulted in efficient transduction of erythropoietin receptor or c-kit-expressing cells. Transduction of erythropoietin receptor-expressing cells mediated by bi-functional bridge proteins was found to be dependent on the dose, the correct subgroup-specific virus receptor and the correct envelope protein. Furthermore, transduction was completely abolished in the presence of anti-erythropoietin antibody.
Our results indicate that the avian sarcoma/leukosis virus bridge strategy provides a reliable approach for cell-specific lentiviral vector targeting. The background levels were lower compared to alternative strategies involving Sindbis virus strain TR339 or vesicular stomatitis virus fusion proteins.
Technologies designed to allow manipulation and modification of human embryonic stem (hES) cells are numerous and vary in the complexity of their methods, efficiency, reliability, and safety. The most commonly studied and practiced of these methods include electroporation, lipofection, nucleofection, and lentiviral transduction. However, at present, it is unclear which protocol offers the most efficient and reliable method of gene transfer to hES cells. In this study, a bi-fusion construct with ubiquitin promoter driving enhanced green fluorescent protein reporter and the firefly luciferase (pUb-eGFP-Fluc) along with neomycin selection marker was used for in vitro and in vivo studies. In vitro studies examined the transfection efficiency and viability of each technique using two hES cell lines (male H1 and female H9 cells). Lentiviral transduction demonstrated the highest efficiency (H1: 25.3 ± 4.8%; H9: 22.4 ± 6.5%) with >95% cell viability. Nucleofection demonstrated transfection efficiency of 16.1 ± 3.6% (H1) and 5.8 ± 3.2% (H9). However, minimal transfection efficiency was observed with electroporation (2.1 ± 0.4% (H1) and 1.9 ± 0.3% (H9)) and lipofection (1.5 ± 0.5% (H1) and 1.3 ± 0.2% (H9); P < 0.05 vs. lentiviral transduction). Electroporation also demonstrated the highest cell death (62 ± 11% (H1) and 42 ± 10% (H9)) followed by nucleofection (25 ± 9% (H1) and 30 ± 15 (H9)). Importantly, lentiviral transduction generated a greater number of hES cell lines stably expressing the double-fusion reporter gene (hES-DF) compared to other transfection techniques. Finally, following subcutaneous transplantation into immunodeficient nude mice, the hES-eGFP-Fluc cells showed robust proliferation as determined by longitudinal bioluminescence imaging. In summary, this study demonstrates that lentiviral transduction and nucleofection are efficient, simple, and safe techniques for reliable gene transfer in hES cells. The double-fusion construct provides an attractive approach for generating stable hES cell lines and monitoring engraftment and proliferation in vitro and in vivo.
Human embryonic stem cell; Molecular imaging; Gene transfer; Plasmid transfection; Lentivirus transduction
This study compared the transduction efficiencies of an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector, which was pseudotyped with an AAV1 capsid and encoded the green fluorescent protein (GFP), with a lentiviral (LV) vector, which was pseudotyped with a VSV-G envelop and encoded the discosoma red fluorescent protein (dsRed), to investigate which viral vector transduced the lateral hypothalamus or the amygdala more efficiently. The LV-dsRed and AAV1-GFP vector were mixed and injected into the lateral hypothalamus or into the amygdala of adult rats. The titers that were injected were 1 × 108 or 1 × 109 genomic copies of AAV1-GFP and 1 × 105 transducing units of LV-dsRed.
Immunostaining for GFP and dsRed showed that AAV1-GFP transduced significantly more cells than LV-dsRed in both the lateral hypothalamus and the amygdala. In addition, the number of LV particles that were injected can not easily be increased, while the number of AAV1 particles can be increased easily with a factor 100 to 1000. Both viral vectors appear to predominantly transduce neurons.
This study showed that AAV1 vectors are better tools to overexpress or knockdown genes in the lateral hypothalamus and amygdala of adult rats, since more cells can be transduced with AAV1 than with LV vectors and the titer of AAV1 vectors can easily be increased to transduce the area of interest.
Adenovirus-mediated transient expression of the pancreatic duodenal homeobox transcription factor Pdx1 in mouse liver activates pancreatic endocrine and exocrine genes, the latter reportedly resulting in severe hepatitis. Expression of a super-active form of Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16 selectively transdifferentiates hepatic WB cells into functional pancreatic beta-like insulin-producing cells, without evidence of exocrine differentiation. No study has systematically compared the transdifferentiation efficiency of Pdx1 and Pdx1-VP16 at the cellular and molecular level. Comparisons can be ambiguous when vectors harboring a transcription factor cDNA have differing extents and duration of gene expression. In view of the remarkable capacity of lentiviral vector (LV) for delivering and integrating transgene into both dividing and nondividing cells, we transduced rat hepatic stem cell-like WB cells with LV-Pdx1 or LV-Pdx1-VP16, and then used the limiting-dilution technique to clone single-cell-derived cell lines that stably express either Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16. With these cell lines, we studied: (a) the expression of Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16 protein by Western blotting and immunocytochemistry; (b) the repertoire of long-term expression of Pdx1- or Pdx1-VP16-induced pancreatic gene expression using RT-PCR methods; and (c) their capacity to serve as beta-cell surrogates in restoring euglycemia in streptozotocin-treated diabetic mice. We found that cell lines expressing either Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16 long-term exhibited similar profiles for expression of genes related to pancreatic development and beta-cell function, and reversed hyperglycemia in diabetic mice. We also examined short-term expression of Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16, and the results demonstrated that expression of Pdx1-VP16 is more efficient in initiating liver-to-endocrine pancreas transdifferentiation. Our findings demonstrate: (a) that the LV system is highly effective in producing persistent expression of Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16 in WB hepatic cells; and (b) long-term, persistent expression of either Pdx1 or Pdx1-VP16 is similarly effective in converting hepatic stem cells into pancreatic endocrine precursor cells that, upon transplantation into diabetic mice, become functional insulin-producing cells and restore euglycemia.
Pdx1; Pdx1-VP16; transdifferentiation; insulin-producing cells; liver WB cells; pancreas
Adoptive immunotherapy with genetically modified natural killer (NK) cells is a promising approach for cancer treatment. Yet, optimization of highly efficient and clinically applicable gene transfer protocols for NK cells still presents a challenge. In this study, we aimed at identifying conditions under which optimum lentiviral gene transfer to NK cells can be achieved. Our results demonstrate that stimulation of NK cells with interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-21 supports efficient transduction using a VSV-G pseudotyped lentiviral vector. Moreover, we have identified that inhibition of innate immune receptor signaling greatly enhances transduction efficiency. We were able to boost the efficiency of lentiviral genetic modification on average 3.8-fold using BX795, an inhibitor of the TBK1/IKKɛ complex acting downstream of RIG-I, MDA-5, and TLR3. We have also observed that the use of BX795 enhances lentiviral transduction efficiency in a number of human and mouse cell lines, indicating a broadly applicable, practical, and safe approach that has the potential of being applicable to various gene therapy protocols.
Sutlu and colleagues identify optimal conditions for efficient transduction of natural killer (NK) cells with a lentiviral vector pseudotyped with vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein. Stimulation of NK cells with interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-21 as well as inhibition of innate immune receptor signaling contributed to enhancement of transduction.
Targeted gene transduction in vivo is the ultimate preferred method for gene delivery. We previously developed targeting lentiviral vectors that specifically recognize cell surface molecules with conjugated antibodies and mediate targeted gene transduction both in vitro and in vivo. Although effective in some experimental settings, the conjugation of virus with antibodies is mediated by the interaction between protein A and the Fc region of antibodies, which is not as stable as covalent conjugation. We have now developed a more stable conjugation strategy utilizing the interaction between avidin and biotin.
We inserted the biotin-adaptor-peptide, which was biotinylated by secretory biotin ligase at specific sites, into our targeting envelope proteins, enabling conjugation of the pseudotyped virus with avidin, streptavidin or neutravidin.
When conjugated with avidin-antibody fusion proteins or the complex of avidin and biotinylated targeting molecules, the vectors could mediate specific transduction to targeted cells recognized by the targeting molecules. When conjugated with streptavidin-coated magnetic beads, transduction by the vectors was targeted to the locations of magnets.
This targeting vector system can be used for broad applications of targeted gene transduction using biotinylated targeting molecules or targeting molecules fused with avidin.
biotin adaptor peptide; endothelial cells; lentiviral vector; Sindbis virus envelope; targeting vector