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Mol Cell Biol. 1987 Feb;7(2):854-63.

Construction of a defective retrovirus containing the human hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase cDNA and its expression in cultured cells and mouse bone marrow.


Defective ecotropic and amphotropic retroviral vectors containing the cDNA for human hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) were developed for efficient gene transfer and high-level cellular expression of HPRT. Helper cell clones which produced a high viral titer were generated by a simplified method which minimizes cell culture. We used the pZIP-NeoSV(X) vector containing a human hprt cDNA. Viral titers (1 X 10(3) to 5 X 10(4)/ml) of defective SVX HPRT B, a vector containing both the hprt and neo genes, were increased 3- to 10-fold by cocultivation of the ecotropic psi 2 and amphotropic PA-12 helper cells. Higher viral titers (8 X 10(5) to 7.5 X 10(6] were obtained when nonproducer NIH 3T3 cells or psi 2 cells carrying a single copy of SVX HPRT B were either transfected or infected by Moloney leukemia virus. The SVX HPRT B defective virus partially corrected the HPRT deficiency (4 to 56% of normal) of cultured rodent and human Lesch-Nyhan cells. However, instability of HPRT expression was detected in several infected clones. In these unstable variants, both retention and loss of the SVX HPRT B sequences were observed. In the former category, cells which became HPRT- (6-thioguanine resistant [6TGr]) also became G418s, indicative of a cis-acting down regulation of expression. Both hypoxanthine-aminopterin-thymidine resistance (HATr) and G418r could be regained by counterselection in hypoxanthine-aminopterin-thymidine. In vitro mouse bone marrow experiments indicated low-level expression of the neo gene in in vitro CFU assays. Individual CFU were isolated and pooled, and the human hprt gene was shown to be expressed. These studies demonstrated the applicability of vectors like SVX HPRT B for high-titer production of defective retroviruses required for hematopoietic gene transfer and expression.

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