Replication defective retroviral vectors are regularly used for transfer and expression of exogenous genes into dividing cells and in animals. Since lentiviruses are able to infect terminally differentiated and non-dividing cells, their use to produce replication defective vectors may overcome this limitation. We developed two replication-defective lentiviral vectors based on the genome of Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV). The first vector (pBNL2) carries the neo and lacZ marker genes. Neo gene is expressed from a genomic RNA and lacZ gene from a subgenomic RNA. The second vector (pCSHL) carries a single fusion gene encoding both phleomycin resistance and β-galactosidase activity. Replication-competent CAEV was used as helper virus to provide the viral proteins for transcomplementation of these vectors. Our data demonstrated that the genomes of both vectors were packaged into CAEV virions and transduced into goat synovial membrane cells following infection. However, the vector titers remained 3 to 4 logs lower than those of CAEV. Further analysis showed a lack of accumulation of unspliced pBNL2 RNA into the cytoplasm of producer cells resulting in the packaging of pBNL2 sub-genomic RNA only. In contrast, RNA produced from pCSHL vector was correctly transported to the cytoplasm and more efficiently packaged than the pBNL2 sub-genomic RNA as revealed by slot-blot and quantitative RT/PCR analyses. However this higher packaging efficiency of pCSHL genome did not result in a higher transduction efficiency of lacZ gene.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 1, 1998
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