A highly efficient, stable, and rapid approach for ex vivo human liver gene therapy via a FLAP lentiviral vector.
ABSTRACT Allogenic hepatocyte transplantation or autologous transplantation of genetically modified hepatocytes has been used successfully to correct congenital or acquired liver diseases and can be considered as an alternative to orthotopic liver transplantation. However, hepatocytes are neither easily maintained in culture nor efficiently genetically modified and are very sensitive to dissociation before their reimplantation into the recipient. These difficulties have greatly limited the use of an ex vivo approach in clinical trials. In the present study, we have shown that primary human and rat hepatocytes can be efficiently transduced with a FLAP lentiviral vector without the need for plating and culture. Efficient transduction of nonadherent primary hepatocytes was achieved with a short period of contact with vector particles, without modifying hepatocyte viability, and using reduced amounts of vector. We also showed that the presence of the DNA FLAP in the vector construct was essential to reach high levels of transduction. Moreover, transplanted into uPA/SCID mouse liver, lentivirally transduced primary human hepatocytes extensively repopulated their liver and maintained a differentiated and functional phenotype as assessed by the stable detection of human albumin and antitrypsin in the serum of the animals for months. In conclusion, the use of FLAP lentiviral vectors allows, in a short period of time, a high transduction efficiency of human functional and reimplantable hepatocytes. This work therefore opens new perspectives for the development of human clinical trials based on liver-directed ex vivo gene therapy.
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ABSTRACT: Central initiation of plus strand synthesis is a conserved feature of lentiviruses and certain other retroelements. This complication of the standard reverse transcription mechanism produces a transient "central DNA flap" in the viral cDNA, which has been proposed to mediate its subsequent nuclear import. This model has assumed that the important feature is the flapped DNA structure itself rather than the process that produces it. Recently, an alternative kinetic model was proposed. It posits that central plus strand synthesis functions to accelerate conversion to the double-stranded state, thereby helping HIV-1 to evade singe-strand DNA-targeting antiviral restrictions such as APOBEC3 proteins, and perhaps to avoid innate immune sensor mechanisms. The model is consistent with evidence that lentiviruses must often synthesize their cDNAs when dNTP concentrations are limiting and with data linking reverse transcription and uncoating. There may be additional kinetic advantages for the artificial genomes of lentiviral gene therapy vectors.Virology 04/2013; · 3.35 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The relative contribution of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/MET and epidermal growth factor (EGF)/EGF receptor (EGFR), two key signal transduction systems in the normal and diseased liver, to fate decisions of adult hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) has not been resolved. Here, we developed a robust culture system that permitted expansion and genetic manipulation of cells capable of multilineage differentiation in vitro and in vivo to examine the individual roles of HGF/MET and EGF/EGFR in HPC self-renewal and binary cell fate decision. By employing loss-of-function and rescue experiments in vitro, we showed that both receptors collaborate to increase the self-renewal of HPCs through activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. MET was a strong inducer of hepatocyte differentiation by activating AKT and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3). Conversely, EGFR selectively induced NOTCH1 to promote cholangiocyte specification and branching morphogenesis while concomitantly suppressing hepatocyte commitment. Furthermore, unlike the deleterious effects of MET deletion, the liver-specific conditional loss of Egfr facilitated rather than suppressed progenitor-mediated liver regeneration by switching progenitor cell differentiation toward hepatocyte lineage. These data provide new insight into the mechanisms regulating the stemness properties of adult HPCs and reveal a previously unrecognized link between EGFR and NOTCH1 in directing cholangiocyte differentiation.Genes & development 08/2013; 27(15):1706-17. · 12.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: : The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) central DNA Flap is generated during reverse transcription as a result of (+) strand initiation at the central polypurine tract (cPPT) and termination after a ca. 100 bp strand displacement at the central termination sequence (CTS). The central DNA Flap is a determinant of HIV-1 nuclear import, however, neither cPPT nor CTS mutations entirely abolish nuclear import and infection. Therefore, to determine whether or not the DNA Flap is essential for HIV-1 nuclear import, we generated double mutant (DM) viruses, combining cPPT and CTS mutations to abolish DNA Flap formation. The combination of cPPT and CTS mutations reduced the proportion of viruses forming the central DNA Flap at the end of reverse transcription and further decreased virus infectivity in one-cycle titration assays. The most affected DM viruses were unable to establish a spreading infection in the highly permissive MT4 cell line, nor in human primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), indicating that the DNA Flap is required for virus replication. Surprisingly, we found that DM viruses still maintained residual nuclear import levels, amounting to 5-15% of wild-type virus, as assessed by viral DNA circle quantification. Alu-PCR quantification of integrated viral genome also indicated 5-10% residual integration levels compared to wild-type virus. This work establishes that the central DNA Flap is required for HIV-1 spreading infection but points to a residual DNA Flap independent nuclear import, whose functional significance remains unclear since it is not sufficient to support viral replication.Retrovirology 11/2011; 8:92. · 5.66 Impact Factor