Restricted tissue tropism and acquired resistance to Sindbis viral vector expression in the absence of innate and adaptive immunity

Gene Ther. 2007 Aug;14(15):1166-74. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 May 17.


Our previous studies suggest that replication-defective Sindbis vectors might be promising agents for specific tumor targeting and detection. However, the effects of innate and/or adaptive anti-viral immunity, in particular, the IFN-I/STAT1 signaling pathway, may impact their therapeutic potential. Using a bioluminescent imaging system, we demonstrate that although most normal cells are not permissively transduced by replication-defective Sindbis vector, transduction of liver non-sinusoidal endothelial occurs the first time IFN-I/STAT1 signaling deficient mice are inoculated with the vector. Transduction of some cells is not surprising since STAT1 knockout animals show significant delay in IFN responses such as the production of IFN-alpha/beta and transcriptional activation of several anti-viral genes (IRF7, RIG-I, PKR, TLR3, USP18, ISG15). However, beyond the initial vector transduction, which resolves rapidly, secondary inoculums of Sindbis vectors do not transduce any liver cells, suggesting that an alternative antiviral pathway may protect against further transduction. Other known signaling pathways were examined using mice lacking functional TLR3, tumor necrosis factoralphaR or nuclear factor-kappa B (p50). Surprisingly, none of those pathways seem to play a significant role in anti-Sindbis responses. Thus it appears that in vivo, in contrast to the ready transduction of tumor cells, transduction of normal cells by replication-defective Sindbis vector is limited, possibly by a novel mechanism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alphavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage*
  • Genetic Vectors / immunology
  • Immunity
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interferon Type I / genetics*
  • Interferon Type I / immunology
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / virology
  • Luminescence
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / genetics
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Sindbis Virus / genetics*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3 / genetics
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods


  • Interferon Type I
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3