Cell-specific targeting of lentiviral vectors mediated by fusion proteins derived from Sindbis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, or avian sarcoma/leukosis virus

Gene Therapy Program, Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.
Retrovirology (Impact Factor: 4.19). 01/2010; 7(1):3. DOI: 10.1186/1742-4690-7-3
Source: PubMed


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 x 10(5) 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.

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