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J Neurosci Res. 2002 Feb 1;67(3):363-71.

Gene transfer into the central nervous system in vivo using a recombinanat lentivirus vector.

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Developmental and Metabolic Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Gene transfer vectors derived from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) efficiently transduce nondividing cells and may provide for the delivery of their gene products to discrete regions of the brain. We investigated whether stable gene transduction can be achieved in cells of the central nervous system (CNS) in vivo by a potent lentivirus vector. The herpes simplex virus type 1 protein VP22 has been known to facilitate intercellular protein transport and thereby provides an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of therapeutic genes by enhancing the delivery of their protein products. We developed a lentiviral vector construct expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fused at its N-terminus to the herpes simplex virus VP22. In order to determine expression of the fusion protein in specific cells such as neurons in the CNS, a neuron-specific promoter was also placed into the construct. The viral vectors were injected directly into the striatum and hippocampus of mouse brains. We found that the lentivirus vector efficiently and stably transduced nondividing cells in the CNS with transgene expression for over 3 months. We also show that the delivery of VP22-EGFP fusion protein encoded by the lentivirus was effectively transported between neuronal cells via axons in vivo. Doubly labeled experiments revealed that our lentiviral vector is capable of delivering gene products to neurons and astrocytes in CNS. The data also demonstrate that up to 90% of the CNS cells transduced by our lentiviral vector under the control of the neuronal promoter are neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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