Optimization of feline immunodeficiency virus vectors for RNA interference

J Virol. 2006 Oct;80(19):9371-80. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00958-06.


RNA interference (RNAi) occurs naturally in plant and animal cells as a means for modulating gene expression. This process has been experimentally manipulated to achieve targeted gene silencing in cells, tissues, and animals, using a variety of vector systems. Here, we tested the hypothesis that vectors based on feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) could be used for coexpression of reporter constructs and RNAi expression cassettes. We found, unexpectedly, in our initial constructs that placement of RNAi expression cassettes downstream from a polymerase II (pol II)-expressed reporter gene inhibited reporter expression but not vector titer. Through a series of intermediate vector constructs, we found that placement of the RNAi expression cassette relative to the Rev response element and the pol II expression cassette was critical for efficient RNAi and reporter gene expression. These results suggested that steric factors, including RNA structure and recruitment of competing transcriptional machinery, may affect gene expression from FIV vectors. In a second series of studies, we show that target sequence silencing can be achieved in cells transduced by FIV vectors coexpressing reporter genes and 3' untranslated region resident microRNAs. The optimized FIV-based RNAi expression vectors will find broad use given the extensive tropism of pseudotyped FIV vectors for many cell types in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Genome, Viral / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA Interference*


  • MicroRNAs