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J Immunol Methods. 1999 Jan 1;222(1-2):197-208.

Polyethylene glycol-mediated infection of non-permissive mammalian cells with semliki forest virus: application to signal transduction studies.

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Section on Chemical Immunology, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Semliki Forest Virus (SFV) vectors allow the subcloning of a gene of interest directly in the expression vector, thus avoiding the need to select and purify viral recombinants, making this viral expression system attractive over many others for mammalian protein expression. We now describe a novel and generally applicable method for infection of non-permissive mammalian cells with SFV, that greatly enhances the utility of this expression system. We demonstrate that the hygroscopic polymer poly (ethylene glycol), PEG, promotes the infectivity of cells by SFV under conditions that did not promote cell-cell fusion. We also found that the PEG-induced infection and expression of an exogenous protein (green fluorescent protein, GFP) did not elevate the basal tyrosine kinase activity, induce a stress-activated responses, or result in aberrant cell responses. Expression of GFP tagged-Vav, an activator of stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK/JNK), resulted in the expected induction of JNK activity and in the normal redistribution of Vav in response to engagement of the high affinity receptor for IgE (FcepsilonRI). Thus, our findings that PEG allows the infection of non-permissive cells by SFV makes this system extremely attractive for expression of proteins in mammalian cells, and studies on signal transduction and cellular localization in immune and non-immune cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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