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J Immunol. 2000 Oct 1;165(7):4112-9.

Expression of a human coxsackie/adenovirus receptor transgene permits adenovirus infection of primary lymphocytes.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655, USA.


Replication-defective adenoviruses are effective vehicles for gene transfer, both for the repair of defective genes and for studies of gene function in primary cells. Many cell types, including lymphocytes, are refractory to adenovirus infection because they lack the Coxsackie/adenovirus receptor (CAR) needed for virus attachment. To extend the advantages of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to primary lymphoid populations and other cell types lacking endogenous CAR, we produced a mouse that expresses human (h) CAR as a transgene under control of a murine MHC class I promoter. hCAR protein is expressed on T and B lymphocytes from a variety of organs (spleen, lymph node, bone marrow, thymus, and peritoneum). These lymphocytes are susceptible to adenovirus infection, as demonstrated by reporter green fluorescent protein gene expression, with the fraction of expressing cells as high as 70%. Some lymphocyte subpopulations required stimulation subsequent to adenovirus infection for reporter expression. This activation requirement is a restriction imposed by the promoter used in the adenovirus construct. In subpopulations requiring activation, the elongation factor 1 promoter was far superior to a hCMV promoter for directing green fluorescent protein production. We also find that hCAR mRNA is produced in nonlymphoid tissues from all founder lines, including tissues that do not express endogenous murine CAR, suggesting the opportunity for effecting gene delivery to and testing gene function in a wide variety of primary cell types previously resistant to gene transfer.

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