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J Gene Med. 2008 Mar;10(3):242-8.

Efficient targeted transduction of primary human endothelial cells with dual-targeted lentiviral vectors.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Angiogenesis is a rate-limiting factor for numerous human diseases. Angiogenic vessels and also the endothelium of certain organs such as the lung display molecular addresses that can be exploited for the selective delivery of gene therapeutics. Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are powerful tools for stable gene delivery but their integration and expression in undesired cell types poses a serious safety concern. We have developed a dual-targeted LV that can specifically target primary endothelial cells (ECs). Cell selectivity is achieved during entry, using a modified Sindbis virus envelope, and during transcription, with an EC-specific promoter. We evaluated four surface markers for EC targeting and seven promoter sequences from genes preferentially expressed in ECs. The efficiency and specificity of the double targeted vector were assayed in a panel of human primary cultures and tumor cell lines. A vector targeted to CD146, an endothelial adhesion molecule, and carrying a derivative of the EC tyrosine kinase Tie2 promoter, increased specificity of transduction up to 50 times and was also effective at selectively transducing ECs in a mixed coculture with human fibroblasts. The vector presented here is a potentially powerful tool that could be used in a variety of human diseases.

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