Factors influencing the titer and infectivity of lentiviral vectors

Hum Gene Ther. 2004 Oct;15(10):976-88. doi: 10.1089/hum.2004.15.976.


Lentiviral vectors have undergone several generations of design improvement to enhance their biosafety and expression characteristics, and have been approved for use in human clinical studies. Most preclinical studies with these vectors have employed easily assayed marker genes for the purpose of determining vector titers and transduction efficiencies. Naturally, the adaptation of these vector systems to clinical use will increasingly involve the transfer of genes whose products may not be easily measured, meaning that the determination of vector titer will be more complicated. One method for determining vector titer that can be universally employed on all human immunodeficiency virus type 1-based lentiviral vector supernatants involves the measurement of Gag (p24) protein concentration in vector supernatants by immunoassay. We have studied the effects that manipulation of several variables involved in vector design and production by transient transfection have on vector titer and infectivity. We have determined that manipulation of the amount of transfer vector, packaging, and envelope plasmids used to transfect the packaging cells does not alter vector infectivity, but does influence vector titer. We also found that modifications to the transfer vector construct, such as replacing the internal promoter or transgene, do not generally alter vector infectivity, whereas inclusion of the central polypurine tract in the transfer vector increases vector infectivity on HEK293 cells and human umbilical cord blood CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). The infectivities of vector supernatants can also be increased by harvesting at early time points after the initiation of vector production, collection in serum-free medium, and concentration by ultracentrifugation. For the transduction of CD34+ HPCs, we found that the simplest method of increasing vector infectivity is to pseudotype vector particles with the RD114 envelope instead of vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein (VSV-G).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, CD34 / biosynthesis
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Products, gag / metabolism
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • HIV-1 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Models, Genetic
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection
  • Transgenes
  • Ultracentrifugation
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry


  • Antigens, CD34
  • G protein, vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Gene Products, gag
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins