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Blood. 2001 Jan 1;97(1):114-21.

Lentivirus-transduced human monocyte-derived dendritic cells efficiently stimulate antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, the Gene Transfer and Somatic Cell Engineering Facility and the Immunology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are professional antigen-presenting cells that are highly effective adjuvants for immunizing against pathogens and tumor antigens. The potential merit of genetic approaches to loading DCs with antigens is to express high and sustained levels of proteins that can be subsequently processed and presented to T lymphocytes. Replication-defective oncoretroviruses are able to efficiently transduce CD34(+) progenitor-derived DCs but not monocyte-derived DCs. Here, it is shown that efficient gene transfer is obtained using a human immunodeficiency virus-1-derived lentiviral vector deleted of all structural and accessory genes. Infection of immature DCs with the lentiviral vector at a multiplicity of infection of 20 resulted in stable gene expression in 30% to 40% of the matured DCs. Proviral DNA was detectable by Alu polymerase chain reaction for the lentiviral but not the oncoretroviral vector. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that lentivirus-transduced DCs were fully functional and effectively activated autologous HLA A2.1(+) peripheral blood cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). DCs expressing lentiviral vector-encoded Flu peptide were at least as efficient as DCs pulsed with the same peptide in stimulating specific CTLs. The efficacy of the lentivirus-transduced DCs was further demonstrated by their ability to directly activate freshly harvested peripheral blood Flu-specific CTLs in the absence of CD4(+) T-cell help and exogenous cytokines. The availability of a stable gene delivery system based on a multiply attenuated lentivirus that does not encode any viral protein and that allows sustained antigen presentation by DCs derived from blood monocytes will be very useful for the biologic investigation of DCs and the improvement of immunotherapeutic strategies involving DCs.

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