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Plasmoviruses: nonviral/viral vectors for gene therapy.

By P Noguiez-Hellin, M R Meur, J L Salzmann and D Klatzmann


We have generated a chimeric gene transfer vector that combines the simplicity of plasmids with the infectivity and long-term expression of retroviruses. We replaced the env gene of a Moloney murine leukemia virus-derived provirus by a foreign gene, generating a plasmid that upon transfer to tumor cells generates noninfectious retroviral particles carrying the transgene. We added to this plasmid an independent expression cassette comprising a cytomegalovirus promoter, an amphotropic retroviral envelope, and a polyadenylylation signal from simian virus 40. These constructs were designed to minimize the risk of recombination generating replication-competent retroviruses. Their only region of homology is a 157-bp sequence with 53% identity. We show that the sole transfection of this plasmid in various cell lines generates infectious but defective retroviral particles capable of efficiently infecting and expressing the transgene. The formation of infectious particles allows the transgene propagation in vitro. Eight days after transfection in vitro, the proportion of cells expressing the transgene is increased by 10-60 times. There was no evidence of replication-competent retrovirus generation in these experiments. The intratumoral injection of this plasmid, but not of the control vector lacking the env gene, led to foci of transgene-expressing cells, suggesting that the transgene had propagated in situ. Altogether, these "plasmoviruses" combine advantages of viral and non-viral vectors. They should be easy to produce in large quantity as clinical grade materials and should allow efficient and safe in situ targeting of tumor cells

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1996
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.93.9.4175
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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