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Gene Ther. 2013 May;20(5):514-20. doi: 10.1038/gt.2012.61. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Efficient transduction of myeloid cells by an HIV-1-derived lentiviral vector that packages the Vpx accessory protein.

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Department of Microbiology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.


Lentiviral vectors are widely used for the stable expression of genes and small hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated knockdown and are currently under development for clinical use in gene therapy. Pseudotyping of the vectors with VSV-G allows them to infect a wide range of cell types. However, myeloid cells, such as dendritic cells and macrophages, are relatively refractory to lentiviral vector transduction as a result of the myeloid-specific restriction factor, SAMHD1. SIVmac/HIV-2 and related viruses relieve the SAMHD1-mediated restriction by encoding Vpx, a virion-packaged accessory protein that induces the degradation of SAMHD1 upon infection. HIV-1 does not encode Vpx and cannot package the protein. We report the development of an HIV-1-based lentiviral vector in which the Vpx packaging motif has been placed in the p6 region of the Gag/Pol expression vector that is used to generate the lentiviral vector virions. The virions package Vpx in high copy number and infect myeloid cells with a two-log increase in titer. Transduction of dendritic cells with an shRNA against transportin-3 resulted in >90% knockdown of the encoding mRNA. The system can be applied to any HIV-based lentiviral vector and is useful for laboratory and clinical applications where the efficient transduction of myeloid cells is required.

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