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Mol Ther. 2007 Jul;15(7):1390-9. Epub 2007 May 1.

Lentiviral vectors with CMV or MHCII promoters administered in vivo: immune reactivity versus persistence of expression.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are potential tools for genetic vaccination. To improve the safety of LV vaccines, we evaluated the selectivity, bio-distribution, persistence of expression, and immune potency of vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G)-pseudotyped vectors transcriptionally targeted to antigen presenting cells (APCs) through a major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) promoter. Control vectors contained the ubiquitous cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. Bio-distribution studies after intravenous injections of LVs expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) or luciferase were conducted by a combination of flow cytometry, immunofluorescence, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-Q-PCR) and whole-body bioluminescence analyses. GFP-expressing vectors showed selective expression in MHCII(+) cells of spleen and LV-CMV-GFP administration produced noticeable spleen inflammation, whereas LV-MHCII-GFP did not. Long-term optical imaging analyses of C57BL/6 mice injected with LV-CMV-LUC showed diminishing luciferase expression in the liver and spleen over time. Vaccination/boost with LV-CMV expressing the melanoma antigen tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP2) yielded dose-dependent antigen-specific CD8(+) T-cell reactivity and high protection against B16 melanoma challenge. Unexpectedly, administration of LVs containing the MHCII promoter resulted in persistence of luciferase expression and viral integration in MHCII(+) splenocytes and virtually no CD8(+) T-cell responses against TRP2. These studies reveal that APC transduction by LVs could lead to immune reactivity (LV-CMV) or persistence of transgene expression (LV-MHCII), providing a relevant paradigm for vaccination and gene replacement approaches.

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