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J Gen Virol. 2012 Jul;93(Pt 7):1583-90. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.041921-0. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Seamless replacement of Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus gp64 with each of five novel type II alphabaculovirus fusion sequences generates pseudotyped virus that fails to transduce mammalian cells.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Science Research Division, King's College London, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK.


Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV), a member of the type I alphabaculoviruses, is able to transduce and deliver a functional gene to a range of non-host cells, including many mammalian lines and primary cells, a property mediated by the envelope fusion protein GP64. AcMNPV is non-cytopathic and inherently replication deficient in non-host cells. As such, AcMNPV represents a possible new class of gene therapy vector with potential future clinical utility. Whilst not a problem for in vitro gene delivery, the broad tropism displayed for non-host cells is less desirable in a gene therapy vector. The fusion protein F of type II alphabaculoviruses can substitute functionally for GP64, and such pseudotyped viruses display a severely impaired capacity for non-host-cell transduction. Thus, surface decoration of such an F-pseudotyped AcMNPV with cell-binding ligands may restore transduction competence and generate vectors with desirable cell-targeting characteristics. By seamlessly swapping the native gp64 coding sequence with each of five sequences encoding different F proteins, a set of F-pseudotyped AcMNPV was generated. This report details their relative abilities both to functionally replace GP64 in viral growth and to transduce human Saos-2 and HeLa cells. All five supported viable infections in insect cell cultures and one, the Mamestra configurata NPV (MacoNPV) F pseudotype, could be amplified to titres close to those of native AcMNPV. In contrast, none was able to transduce the Saos-2 and HeLa cell lines. The robust support provided by MacoNPV F in virus production makes the corresponding pseudotype a viable scaffold to display surface ligands to direct selective mammalian cell targeting.

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