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1.  Pseudotype-dependent lentiviral transduction of astrocytes or neurons in the rat substantia nigra 
Experimental neurology  2010;228(1):41-52.
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.
PMCID: PMC3038546  PMID: 21056560
lentivirus; pseudotype; vesicular stomatitis virus; mokola virus; lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus; moloney murine leukemia virus; tropism; substantia nigra; Parkinson’s disease
2.  Optimized Lentiviral Transduction of Mouse Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Stem cells and development  2008;17(3):441-450.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted much attention as potential platforms for transgene delivery and cell-based therapy for human disease. MSCs have the capability to self-renew and retain multipotency after extensive expansion in vitro, making them attractive targets for ex vivo modification and autologous transplantation. Viral vectors, including lentiviral vectors, provide an efficient means for transgene delivery into human MSCs. In contrast, mouse MSCs have proven more difficult to transduce with lentiviral vectors than their human counterparts, and because many studies use mouse models of human disease, an improved method of transduction would facilitate studies using ex vivo-modified mouse MSCs. We have worked toward improving the production of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-based lentiviral vectors and optimizing transduction conditions for mouse MSCs using lentivirus vectors pseudotyped with the vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein (VSV-G), the ecotropic murine leukemia virus envelope glycoprotein (MLV-E), and the glycoproteins derived from the Armstrong and WE strains of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV-Arm, LCMV-WE). Mouse MSCs were readily transduced following overnight incubation using a multiplicity of infection of at least 40. Alternatively, mouse MSCs in suspension were readily transduced after a 1-h exposure to lentiviral pseudotypes immediately following trypsin treatment or retrieval from storage in liquid nitrogen. LCMV-WE pseudotypes resulted in efficient transduction of mouse MSCs with less toxicity than VSV-G pseudotypes. In conclusion, our improved production and transduction conditions for lentiviral vectors resulted in efficient transduction of mouse MSCs, and these improvements should facilitate the application of such cells in the context of mouse models of human disease.
PMCID: PMC2996877  PMID: 18513160
3.  Optimized Lentiviral Transduction of Mouse Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Stem Cells and Development  2008;17(3):441-450.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted much attention as potential platforms for transgene delivery and cell-based therapy for human disease. MSCs have the capability to self-renew and retain multipotency after extensive expansion in vitro, making them attractive targets for ex vivo modification and autologous transplantation. Viral vectors, including lentiviral vectors, provide an efficient means for transgene delivery into human MSCs. In contrast, mouse MSCs have proven more difficult to transduce with lentiviral vectors than their human counterparts, and because many studies use mouse models of human disease, an improved method of transduction would facilitate studies using ex vivo-modified mouse MSCs. We have worked toward improving the production of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-based lentiviral vectors and optimizing transduction conditions for mouse MSCs using lentivirus vectors pseudotyped with the vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein (VSV-G), the ecotropic murine leukemia virus envelope glycoprotein (MLV-E), and the glycoproteins derived from the Armstrong and WE strains of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV-Arm, LCMV-WE). Mouse MSCs were readily transduced following overnight incubation using a multiplicity of infection of at least 40. Alternatively, mouse MSCs in suspension were readily transduced after a 1-h exposure to lentiviral pseudotypes immediately following trypsin treatment or retrieval from storage in liquid nitrogen. LCMV-WE pseudotypes resulted in efficient transduction of mouse MSCs with less toxicity than VSV-G pseudotypes. In conclusion, our improved production and transduction conditions for lentiviral vectors resulted in efficient transduction of mouse MSCs, and these improvements should facilitate the application of such cells in the context of mouse models of human disease.
PMCID: PMC2996877  PMID: 18513160
4.  In Vivo Gene Transfer Using a Nonprimate Lentiviral Vector Pseudotyped with Ross River Virus Glycoproteins 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(18):9378-9388.
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.
PMCID: PMC136422  PMID: 12186920
5.  Long-term correction of diabetes in rats after lentiviral hepatic insulin gene therapy 
Diabetologia  2007;50(9):1910-1920.
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.
PMCID: PMC1975734  PMID: 17598085
Beta cell transcription factors; Gene therapy; Hepatocytes; Insulin storage; Lentiviral vector; Type 1 diabetes; Wistar rats
6.  Targeted Transgene Expression in Müller Glia of Normal and Diseased Retinas Using Lentiviral Vectors 
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.
PMCID: PMC1939809  PMID: 17389520
7.  Comparative analysis of HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors bearing lyssavirus glycoproteins for neuronal gene transfer 
The delivery of therapeutic genes to the central nervous system (CNS) using viral vectors represents an appealing strategy for the treatment of nerve injury and disorders of the CNS. Important factors determining CNS targeting include tropism of the viral vectors and retrograde transport of the vector particles. Retrograde transport of equine anemia virus (EIAV)-based lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with the glycoprotein derived from the Rabies virus RabERA strain from peripheral muscle to spinal motor neurons (MNs) was previously reported. Despite therapeutic effects achieved in mouse models of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the efficiency of this approach needs to be improved for clinical translation. To date there has not been a quantitative assessment of pseudotyped HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors to transduce MNs. Here, we describe quantitative tests to analyze the retrograde transport capacity of HIV-1 vectors pseudotyped with the G glycoprotein derived from Rabies and Rabies-related viruses (Lyssaviruses).
With a view toward optimizing the retrograde transport properties of HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors, we compared the glycoproteins from different enveloped viruses belonging to the Rhabdoviridae family, genus Lyssavirus, and evaluated their ability to transduce specific cell populations and promote retrograde axonal transport. We first tested the transduction performance of these pseudotypes in vitro in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, NSC-34 neuroblastoma-spinal cord hybrid cells, and primary mixed spinal cord and pure astrocyte cultures. We then analyzed the uptake and retrograde transport of these pseudotyped vectors in vitro, using Campenot chambers. Finally, intraneural injections were performed to evaluate the in vivo retrograde axonal transport of these pseudotypes.
Both the in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with the glycoprotein derived from the Rabies virus PV strain possessed the best performance and neuronal tropism among the vectors tested.
Our results indicate that HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with the Rabies PV glycoprotein might provide important vehicles for CNS targeting by peripheral injection in the treatment of motor neuron diseases (MND), pain, and neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC2639530  PMID: 19144125
8.  Remission of Invasive, Cancer Stem-Like Glioblastoma Xenografts Using Lentiviral Vector-Mediated Suicide Gene Therapy 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6314.
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.
Methodology/Principal Findings
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.
PMCID: PMC2707627  PMID: 19617915
9.  In vivo gene transfer targeting in pancreatic adenocarcinoma with cell surface antigens 
Molecular Cancer  2012;11:81.
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.
PMCID: PMC3546072  PMID: 23088623
Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Targeted therapy; Surface marker
10.  Lentiviral vector mediated modification of mesenchymal stem cells & enhanced survival in an in vitro model of ischaemia 
A combination of gene and cell therapies has the potential to significantly enhance the therapeutic value of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The development of efficient gene delivery methods is essential if MSCs are to be of benefit using such an approach. Achieving high levels of transgene expression for the required period of time, without adversely affecting cell viability and differentiation capacity, is crucial. In the present study, we investigate lentiviral vector-mediated genetic modification of rat bone-marrow derived MSCs and examine any functional effect of such genetic modification in an in vitro model of ischaemia.
Transduction efficiency and transgene persistence of second and third generation rHIV-1 based lentiviral vectors were tested using reporter gene constructs. Use of the rHIV-pWPT-EF1-α-GFP-W vector was optimised in terms of dose, toxicity, cell species, and storage. The in vivo condition of ischaemia was modelled in vitro by separation into its associated constituent parts i.e. hypoxia, serum and glucose deprivation, in which the effect of therapeutic gene over-expression on MSC survival was investigated.
The second generation lentiviral vector rHIV-pWPT-EF1-α-GFP-W, was the most efficient and provided the most durable transgene expression of the vectors tested. Transduction with this vector did not adversely affect MSC morphology, viability or differentiation potential, and transgene expression levels were unaffected by cryopreservation of transduced cells. Over-expression of HSP70 resulted in enhanced MSC survival and increased resistance to apoptosis in conditions of hypoxia and ischaemia. MSC differentiation capacity was significantly reduced after oxygen deprivation, but was preserved with HSP70 over-expression.
Collectively, these data validate the use of lentiviral vectors for efficient in vitro gene delivery to MSCs and suggest that lentiviral vector transduction can facilitate sustained therapeutic gene expression, providing an efficient tool for ex vivo MSC modification. Furthermore, lentiviral mediated over-expression of therapeutic genes in MSCs may provide protection in an ischaemic environment and enable MSCs to function in a regenerative manner, in part through maintaining the ability to differentiate. This finding may have considerable significance in improving the efficacy of MSC-based therapies.
PMCID: PMC3226283  PMID: 21385372
11.  Altering α-dystroglycan receptor affinity of LCMV pseudotyped lentivirus yields unique cell and tissue tropism 
The envelope glycoprotein of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) can efficiently pseudotype lentiviral vectors. Some strains of LCMV exploit high affinity interactions with α-dystroglycan (α-DG) to bind to cell surfaces and subsequently fuse in low pH endosomes. LCMV strains with low α-DG affinity utilize an unknown receptor and display unique tissue tropisms. We pseudotyped non-primate feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vectors using LCMV derived glycoproteins with high or low affinity to α-DG and evaluated their properties in vitro and in vivo.
We pseudotyped FIV with the LCMV WE54 strain envelope glycoprotein and also engineered a point mutation in the WE54 envelope glycoprotein (L260F) to diminish α-DG affinity and direct binding to alternate receptors. We hypothesized that this change would alter in vivo tissue tropism and enhance gene transfer to neonatal animals.
In mice, hepatic α- and β-DG expression was greatest at the late gestational and neonatal time points. When displayed on the surface of the FIV lentivirus the WE54 L260F mutant glycoprotein bound weakly to immobilized α-DG. Additionally, LCMV WE54 pseudotyped FIV vector transduction was neutralized by pre-incubation with soluble α-DG, while the mutant glycoprotein pseudotyped vector was not. In vivo gene transfer in adult mice with either envelope yielded low transduction efficiencies in hepatocytes following intravenous delivery. In marked contrast, neonatal gene transfer with the LCMV envelopes, and notably with the FIV-L260F vector, conferred abundant liver and lower level cardiomyocyte transduction as detected by luciferase assays, bioluminescent imaging, and β-galactosidase staining.
These results suggest that a developmentally regulated receptor for LCMV is expressed abundantly in neonatal mice. LCMV pseudotyped vectors may have applications for neonatal gene transfer.
Armstrong 53b (Arm53b); baculovirus Autographa californica GP64 (GP64); charge-coupled device (CCD); dystroglycan (DG); feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV); glycoprotein precursor (GP-C); firefly luciferase (Luc); lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV); nuclear targeted β-galactosidase (ntLacZ); optical density (OD); PBS/0.1% (w/v) Tween-20 (PBST); relative light units (RLU); Rous sarcoma virus (RSV); transducing units per milliliter (TU/ml); vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV-G); wheat germ agglutinin (WGA); 50% reduction in binding (C50).
PMCID: PMC3080791  PMID: 21477292
12.  Specific Targeting of Human Interleukin (IL)-13 Receptor α2-Positive Cells with Lentiviral Vectors Displaying IL-13 
Human Gene Therapy Methods  2012;23(2):137-147.
The ability to selectively and efficiently target transgene delivery to specific cell types in vitro and in vivo remains one of the formidable challenges in gene therapy. Lentiviral vectors have several advantages that make them attractive as gene delivery vehicles and their tropism can be altered through pseudotyping, allowing transgene delivery to specific populations of cells. The human interleukin-13 receptor α2 (IL-13Rα2) is uniquely overexpressed in many different human tumors, making it an attractive target for cancer therapy. In this study, we examined whether IL-13Rα2-positive tumor cells can be specifically targeted with lentiviral vector pseudotypes containing a truncated fusion (F) protein derived from measles virus (MV) and a tail-truncated and receptor-blind MV hemagglutinin (H) protein bearing IL-13 at the C terminus. The retargeted lentiviral vector efficiently transduced cells that express high levels of IL-13Rα2, but not cells expressing low levels of IL-13Rα2 in vitro. In vivo, it specifically targeted IL-13Rα2-positive glioma cell xenografts in immunodeficient mice in the context of subcutaneous and intracranial glioma models. Similar lentiviral vectors may be developed for targeting other tumors expressing specific cell surface receptors.
Ou and colleagues develop lentiviral vectors that bear measles virus (MV) glycoproteins and human interleukin (IL)-13 to test whether such vectors can specifically target IL-13 receptor α2 (IL-13Rα2)-positive tumor cells. They show that the retargeted lentiviral vectors efficiently transduce IL-13Rα2-positive cells in vitro, and that they specifically target IL-13Rα2-positive glioma cell xenografts in the context of subcutaneous and intracranial glioma mouse models in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3848083  PMID: 22612657
13.  Ephrin A2 receptor targeting does not increase adenoviral pancreatic cancer transduction in vivo 
AIM: To generate an adenoviral vector specifically targeting the EphA2 receptor (EphA2R) highly expressed on pancreatic cancer cells in vivo.
METHODS: YSA, a small peptide ligand that binds the EphA2R with high affinity, was inserted into the HI loop of the adenovirus serotype 5 fiber knob. To further increase the specificity of this vector, binding sites for native adenoviral receptors, the coxsackie and adenovirus receptor (CAR) and integrin, were ablated from the viral capsid. The ablated retargeted adenoviral vector was produced on 293T cells. Specific targeting of this novel adenoviral vector to pancreatic cancer was investigated on established human pancreatic cancer cell lines. Upon demonstrating specific in vitro targeting, in vivo targeting to subcutaneous growing human pancreatic cancer was tested by intravenous and intraperitoneal administration of the ablated adenoviral vector.
RESULTS: Ablation of native cellular binding sites reduced adenoviral transduction at least 100-fold. Insertion of the YSA peptide in the HI loop restored adenoviral transduction of EphA2R-expressing cells but not of cells lacking this receptor. YSA-mediated transduction was inhibited by addition of synthetic YSA peptide. The transduction specificity of the ablated retargeted vector towards human pancreatic cancer cells was enhanced almost 10-fold in vitro. In a subsequent in vivo study in a nude (nu/nu) mouse model however, no increased adenoviral targeting to subcutaneously growing human pancreas cancer nodules was seen upon injection into the tail vein, nor upon injection into the peritoneum.
CONCLUSION: Targeting the EphA2 receptor increases specificity of adenoviral transduction of human pancreatic cancer cells in vitro but fails to enhance pancreatic cancer transduction in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2695891  PMID: 19522026
Pancreatic cancer; Adenoviruses; Ephrin A receptor; Targeting; Genetic transduction
14.  Intrapulmonary Versus Nasal Transduction of Murine Airways With GP64-pseudotyped Viral Vectors 
Persistent viral vector-mediated transgene expression in the airways requires delivery to cells with progenitor capacity and avoidance of immune responses. Previously, we observed that GP64-pseudotyped feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-mediated gene transfer was more efficient in the nasal airways than the large airways of the murine lung. We hypothesized that in vivo gene transfer was limited by immunological and physiological barriers in the murine intrapulmonary airways. Here, we systematically investigate multiple potential barriers to lentiviral gene transfer in the airways of mice. We show that GP64-FIV vector transduced primary cultures of well-differentiated murine nasal epithelia with greater efficiency than primary cultures of murine tracheal epithelia. We further demonstrate that neutrophils, type I interferon (IFN) responses, as well as T and B lymphocytes are not the major factors limiting the transduction of murine conducting airways. In addition, we observed better transduction of GP64-pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in the nasal epithelia compared with the intrapulmonary airways in mice. VSVG glycoprotein pseudotyped VSV transduced intrapulmonary epithelia with similar efficiency as nasal epithelia. Our results suggest that the differential transduction efficiency of nasal versus intrapulmonary airways by FIV vector is not a result of immunological barriers or surface area, but rather differential expression of cellular factors specific for FIV vector transduction.
PMCID: PMC3564419  PMID: 23360952
FIV; gene therapy; lentiviral vector
15.  Cell-specific targeting of lentiviral vectors mediated by fusion proteins derived from Sindbis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, or avian sarcoma/leukosis virus 
Retrovirology  2010;7:3.
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.
PMCID: PMC2823649  PMID: 20100344
16.  Characterization of the Properties of Seven Promoters in the Motor Cortex of Rats and Monkeys After Lentiviral Vector-Mediated Gene Transfer 
Human Gene Therapy Methods  2013;24(6):333-344.
Lentiviral vectors deliver transgenes efficiently to a wide range of neuronal cell types in the mammalian central nervous system. To drive gene expression, internal promoters are essential; however, the in vivo properties of promoters, such as their cell type specificity and gene expression activity, are not well known, especially in the nonhuman primate brain. Here, the properties of five ubiquitous promoters (murine stem cell virus [MSCV], cytomegalovirus [CMV], CMV early enhancer/chicken β-actin [CAG], human elongation factor-1α [EF-1α], and Rous sarcoma virus [RSV]) and two cell type-specific promoters (rat synapsin I and mouse α-calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II [CaMKIIα]) in rat and monkey motor cortices in vivo were characterized. Vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G)-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) under the control of the various promoters were prepared and injected into rat and monkey motor cortices. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that all of the VSV-G-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors had strong endogenous neuronal tropisms in rat and monkey brains. Among the seven promoters, the CMV promoter showed modest expression in glial cells (9.4%) of the rat brain, whereas the five ubiquitous promoters (MSCV, CMV, CAG, EF-1α, and RSV) showed expression in glial cells (7.0–14.7%) in the monkey brain. Cell type-specific synapsin I and CaMKIIα promoters showed excitatory neuron-specific expression in the monkey brain (synapsin I, 99.7%; CaMKIIα, 100.0%), but their specificities for excitatory neurons were significantly lower in the rat brain (synapsin I, 94.6%; CaMKIIα, 93.7%). These findings could be useful in basic and clinical neuroscience research for the design of vectors that efficiently deliver and express transgenes into rat and monkey brains.
PMCID: PMC3869537  PMID: 23964981
17.  Reprogramming liver-stem WB cells into functional insulin-producing cells by persistent expression of Pdx1- and Pdx1-VP16 mediated by lentiviral vectors 
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.
PMCID: PMC3417286  PMID: 16294197
Pdx1; Pdx1-VP16; transdifferentiation; insulin-producing cells; liver WB cells; pancreas
18.  The CXCR4-Tropic Human Immunodeficiency Virus Envelope Promotes More-Efficient Gene Delivery to Resting CD4+ T Cells than the Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Glycoprotein G Envelope▿ †  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(16):8153-8162.
Current gene transfer protocols for resting CD4+ T cells include an activation step to enhance transduction efficiency. This step is performed because it is thought that resting cells are resistant to transduction by lentiviral-based gene therapy vectors. However, activating resting cells prior to transduction alters their physiology, with foreseeable and unforeseeable negative consequences. Thus, it would be desirable to transduce resting CD4+ T cells without activation. We recently demonstrated, contrary to the prevailing belief, that wild-type human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) integrates into resting CD4+ T cells. Based on that finding, we investigated whether a commonly used, vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein G (VSV-G)-pseudotyped lentiviral gene therapy vector could also integrate into resting CD4+ T cells. To investigate this, we inoculated resting CD4+ T cells with lentiviral particles that were pseudotyped with VSV-G or CXCR4-tropic HIV Env and assayed binding, fusion, reverse transcription, and integration. We found that the VSV-G-pseudotyped lentiviral vector failed to fuse to resting CD4+ T cells while HIV Env-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors fused, reverse transcribed, and integrated in resting cells. Our findings suggest that HIV Env could be used effectively for the delivery of therapeutic genes to resting CD4+ T cells and suggest that fusion may be the critical step restricting transduction of resting CD4+ T cells by lentiviral gene therapy vectors.
PMCID: PMC2715791  PMID: 19493998
19.  Evaluation of transduction efficiency in macrophage colony-stimulating factor differentiated human macrophages using HIV-1 based lentiviral vectors 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:13.
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.
PMCID: PMC3045310  PMID: 21281514
20.  Lentivirus-mediated transgene delivery to the hippocampus reveals sub-field specific differences in expression 
BMC Neuroscience  2009;10:2.
In the adult hippocampus, the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus is a heterogeneous structure formed by neurons of different ages, morphologies and electrophysiological properties. Retroviral vectors have been extensively used to transduce cells of the granule cell layer and study their inherent properties in an intact brain environment. In addition, lentivirus-based vectors have been used to deliver transgenes to replicative and non-replicative cells as well, such as post mitotic neurons of the CNS. However, only few studies have been dedicated to address the applicability of these widespread used vectors to hippocampal cells in vivo. Therefore, the aim of this study was to extensively characterize the cell types that are effectively transduced in vivo by VSVg-pseudotyped lentivirus-based vectors in the hippocampus dentate gyrus.
In the present study we used Vesicular Stomatitis Virus G glycoprotein-pseudotyped lentivirual vectors to express EGFP from three different promoters in the mouse hippocampus. In contrast to lentiviral transduction of pyramidal cells in CA1, we identified sub-region specific differences in transgene expression in the granule cell layer of the dentate gyrus. Furthermore, we characterized the cell types transduced by these lentiviral vectors, showing that they target primarily neuronal progenitor cells and immature neurons present in the sub-granular zone and more immature layers of the granule cell layer.
Our observations suggest the existence of intrinsic differences in the permissiveness to lentiviral transduction among various hippocampal cell types. In particular, we show for the first time that mature neurons of the granule cell layer do not express lentivirus-delivered transgenes, despite successful expression in other hippocampal cell types. Therefore, amongst hippocampal granule cells, only adult-generated neurons are target for lentivirus-mediated transgene delivery. These properties make lentiviral vectors excellent systems for overexpression or knockdown of genes in neuronal progenitor cells, immature neurons and adult-generated neurons of the mouse hippocampus in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2647928  PMID: 19144149
21.  Retargeting Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Glycoprotein Pseudotyped Lentiviral Vectors with Enhanced Stability by In Situ Synthesized Polymer Shell 
Human Gene Therapy Methods  2013;24(1):11-18.
The ability to introduce transgenes with precise specificity to the desired target cells or tissues is key to a more facile application of genetic therapy. Here, we describe a novel method using nanotechnology to generate lentiviral vectors with altered recognition of host cell receptor specificity. Briefly, the infectivity of the vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (VSV-G) pseudotyped lentiviral vectors was shielded by a thin polymer shell synthesized in situ onto the viral envelope, and new binding ability was conferred to the shielded virus by introducing acrylamide-tailored cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (cRGD) peptide to the polymer shell. We termed the resulting virus “targeting nanovirus.” The targeting nanovirus had similar titer with VSV-G pseudotypes and specifically transduced Hela cells with high transduction efficiency. In addition, the encapsulation of the VSV-G pseudotyped lentivirus by the polymer shell did not change the pathway that VSV-G pseudotypes enter and fuse with cells, as well as later events such as reverse transcription and gene expression. Furthermore, the targeting nanovirus possessed enhanced stability in the presence of human serum, indicating protection of the virus by the polymer shell from human serum complement inactivation. This novel use of nanotechnology demonstrates proof of concept for an approach that could be more generally applied for redirecting viral vectors for laboratory and clinical purposes.
Liang and colleagues apply an in situ polymerization method to encapsulate vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (VSV-G) pseudotyped lentiviral vectors with a crosslinked polymer shell. This approach leads to an enhancement of targeting ability, infectivity, and stability of the vector, even in the presence of human serum complement.
PMCID: PMC4275776  PMID: 23327104
22.  Lentivirus Vector Gene Expression during ES Cell-Derived Hematopoietic Development In Vitro 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(22):10778-10784.
The murine embryonal stem (ES) cell virus (MESV) can express transgenes from the long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter/enhancer in undifferentiated ES cells, but expression is turned off upon differentiation to embryoid bodies (EBs) and hematopoietic cells in vitro. We examined whether a human immunodeficiency virus type 1-based lentivirus vector pseudotyped with the vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G) could transduce ES cells efficiently and express the green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene from an internal phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) promoter throughout development to hematopoietic cells in vitro. An oncoretrovirus vector containing the MESV LTR and the GFP gene was used for comparison. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis of transduced CCE ES cells showed 99.8 and 86.7% GPF-expressing ES cells in the VSV-G-pseudotyped lentivirus (multiplicity of infection [MOI] = 59)- and oncoretrovirus (MOI = 590)-transduced cells, respectively. Therefore, VSV-G pseudotyping of lentiviral and oncoretrovirus vectors leads to efficient transduction of ES cells. Lentivirus vector integration was verified in the ES cell colonies by Southern blot analysis. When the transduced ES cells were differentiated in vitro, expression from the oncoretrovirus LTR was severely reduced or extinct in day 6 EBs and ES cell-derived hematopoietic colonies. In contrast, many lentivirus-transduced colonies, expressing the GFP gene in the undifferentiated state, continued to express the transgene throughout in vitro development to EBs at day 6, and many continued to express in cells derived from hematopoietic colonies. This experimental system can be used to analyze lentivirus vector design for optimal expression in hematopoietic cells and for gain-of-function experiments during ES cell development in vitro.
PMCID: PMC110952  PMID: 11044122
23.  In vitro evaluation of a double-stranded self-complementary adeno-associated virus type2 vector in bone marrow stromal cells for bone healing 
Both adenoviral and lentiviral vectors have been successfully used to induce bone repair by over-expression of human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) in primary rat bone marrow stromal cells in pre-clinical models of ex vivo regional gene therapy. Despite being a very efficient means of gene delivery, there are potential safety concerns that may limit the adaptation of these viral vectors for clinical use in humans. Recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vector is a promising viral vector without known pathogenicity in humans and has the potential to be an effective gene delivery vehicle to enhance bone repair. In this study, we investigated gene transfer in rat and human bone marrow stromal cells in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the self-complementary AAV vector (scAAV) system, which has higher efficiency than the single-stranded AAV vector (ssAAV) due to its unique viral genome that bypasses the rate-limiting conversion step necessary in ssAAV.
Self-complementaryAAV2 encoding GFP and BMP-2 (scAAV2-GFP and scAAV2-BMP-2) were used to transduce human and rat bone marrow stromal cells in vitro, and subsequently the levels of GFP and BMP-2 expression were assessed 48 hours after treatment. In parallel experiments, adenoviral and lentiviral vector mediated over-expression of GFP and BMP-2 were used for comparison.
Our results demonstrate that the scAAV2 is not capable of inducing significant transgene expression in human and rat bone marrow stromal cells, which may be associated with its unique tropism.
In developing ex vivo gene therapy regimens, the ability of a vector to induce the appropriate level of transgene expression needs to be evaluated for each cell type and vector used.
PMCID: PMC3056728  PMID: 21352585
24.  Targeted transduction of CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells in nonpurified human mobilized peripheral blood mononuclear cells 
The journal of gene medicine  2009;11(3):185-196.
Conventional gene-therapy applications of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) involve purification of CD34+ progenitor cells from the mobilized peripheral blood, ex vivo transduction of the gene of interest into them, and reinfusion of the transduced CD34+ progenitor cells into patients. Eliminating the process of purification would save labor, time and money, while enhancing HSCs viability, transplantability and pluripotency. Lentiviral vectors have been widely used in gene therapy because they infect both dividing and nondividing cells and provide sustained transgene expression. One of the exceptions to this rule is quiescent primary lymphocytes, in which reverse transcription of viral DNA is not completed.
In the present study, we tested the possibility of targeting CD34+ progenitor cells within nonpurified human mobilized peripheral blood mononuclear cells (mPBMCs) utilizing vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G) pseudotyped lentiviral vectors, based on the assumption that the CD34+ progenitor cells would be preferentially transduced. To further enhance the specificity of vector transduction, we also examined utilizing a modified Sindbis virus envelope (2.2) pseudotyped lentiviral vector, developed in our laboratory, that allows targeted transduction to specific cell receptors via antibody recognition.
Both the VSV-G and 2.2 pseudotyped vectors achieved measurable results when they were used to target CD34+ progenitor cells in nonpurified mPBMCs.
Overall, the data obtained demonstrate the potential of ex vivo targeting of CD34+ progenitor cells without purification.
PMCID: PMC3775470  PMID: 19152374
gene therapy; targeting; lentiviral vector; hematopoietic stem cell; mobilized PBMCs
25.  High-Titer Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Based Vector Systems for Gene Delivery into Nondividing Cells 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(11):8873-8883.
Previously we designed novel pseudotyped high-titer replication defective human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vectors to deliver genes into nondividing cells (J. Reiser, G. Harmison, S. Kluepfel-Stahl, R. O. Brady, S. Karlsson, and M. Schubert, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93:15266–15271, 1996). Since then we have made several improvements with respect to the safety, flexibility, and efficiency of the vector system. A three-plasmid expression system is used to generate pseudotyped HIV-1 particles by transient transfection of human embryonic kidney 293T cells with a defective packaging construct, a plasmid coding for a heterologous envelope (Env) protein, and a vector construct harboring a reporter gene such as neo, ShlacZ (encoding a phleomycin resistance/β-galactosidase fusion protein), HSA (encoding mouse heat-stable antigen), or EGFP (encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein). The packaging constructs lack functional Vif, Vpr, and Vpu proteins and/or a large portion of the Env coding region as well as the 5′ and 3′ long terminal repeats, the Nef function, and the presumed packaging signal. Using G418 selection, we routinely obtained vector particles pseudotyped with the vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein (VSV-G) with titers of up to 8 × 107 CFU/μg of p24, provided that a functional Tat coding region was present in the vector. Vector constructs lacking a functional Tat protein yielded titers of around 4 × 106 to 8 × 106 CFU/μg of p24. Packaging constructs with a mutation within the integrase (IN) core domain profoundly affected colony formation and expression of the reporter genes, indicating that a functional IN protein is required for efficient transduction. We explored the abilities of other Env proteins to allow formation of pseudotyped HIV-1 particles. The rabies virus and Mokola virus G proteins yielded high-titer infectious pseudotypes, while the human foamy virus Env protein did not. Using the improved vector system, we successfully transduced contact-inhibited primary human skin fibroblasts and postmitotic rat cerebellar neurons and cardiac myocytes, a process not affected by the lack of the accessory proteins.
PMCID: PMC110304  PMID: 9765432

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