We report here on stable prepackaging cell lines which can be converted into packaging cell lines for high-titer vesicular stomatitis virus G protein (VSV-G)-pseudotyped retrovirus vectors by the introduction of Cre recombinase-expressing adenovirus. The generated prepackaging cell lines constitutively express the gag-pol genes and contain an inducible transcriptional unit for the VSV-G gene. From this unit, the introduced Cre recombinase excised both a neomycin resistance (Neo(r)) gene and a poly(A) signal flanked by a tandem pair of loxP sequences and induced transcription of the VSV-G gene from the same promoter as had been used for Neo(r) expression. By inserting an mRNA-destabilizing signal into the 3' untranslated region of the Neo(r) gene to reduce the amount of Neo(r) transcript, we were able efficiently to select the clones capable of inducing VSV-G at high levels. Without the introduction of Cre recombinase, these cell lines produce neither VSV-G nor any detectable infectious virus at all, even after the transduction of a murine leukemia virus-based retrovirus vector encoding β-galactosidase. They reproducibly produced high-titer virus stocks of VSV-G-pseudotyped retrovirus (1.0 x 106 infectious units/ml) from 3 days after the introduction of Cre recombinase. We also present evidence that VSV- G-producing cells are still fully susceptible to transduction by VSV-G pseudotypes. However, in this vector-producing system, which regulates VSV-G pseudotype production in an all-or-none manner, the integration of vector DNA into packaging cell lines would be minimized. We further show that heparin significantly inhibits retransduction of VSV-G pseudotypes in the culture fluids of packaging cell lines, leading to a two- to fourfold increase in the yield of the pseudotypes after induction. This vector-producing system was very stable and should be advantageous in human gene therapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science