Helper virus-free HSV-1 vectors packaged both in the presence of VSV G protein and in the absence of HSV-1 glycoprotein B support gene transfer into neurons in the rat striatum
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Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) vectors have potential for gene transfer into quiescent cells, but the gene transfer process could be more efficient. In other vector systems, both the titers and the efficiency of gene transfer have been enhanced by pseudotyping the vector particles with vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) G protein. In this report, we pseudotyped helper virus-free HSV-1 plasmid vectors with VSV G protein. Packaging was performed in the presence of both VSV G protein and a deletion in an essential HSV-1 glycoprotein, gB. The resulting vector stocks supported gene transfer into both fibroblast and neuronal cell lines. VSV G protein was required for gene transfer because preincubation of these vector stocks with antibodies directed against either VSV G protein or VSV reduced the titer to undetectable levels. Although the titers were lower than those obtained using the unmodified vector system, the titers were not increased by use of chimeric proteins that contain the extracellular domain of VSV G protein and the transmembrane and/or cytoplasmic domains of specific HSV-1 glycoproteins. Also, the titers were not increased by performing the packaging in the presence of deletions in multiple HSV-1 glycoproteins. Nonetheless, pHSVlac pseudotyped with VSV G protein supported gene transfer into striatal neurons in the rat brain. Thus, HSV-1 vectors pseudotyped with VSV G protein may be useful for specific gene transfer studies.
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