Lentiviral vectors transduce proliferating dendritic cell precursors leading to persistent antigen presentation and immunization

Mol Ther. 2009 Sep;17(9):1643-50. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.149. Epub 2009 Jul 7.


Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are tools for in vivo gene delivery, to correct genetic defects or to deliver antigens for vaccination. It was reported that systemic injection of LVs in mice transduced cells in liver and spleen. Here we describe the reasons for, and consequences of, persistent gene expression in spleen. After 5 days of intravenous injection, a green fluorescence protein (GFP)-expressing LV was detected in lymphocytes, macrophages and all subsets of dendritic cells (DCs) in spleen. In the case of macrophages and DCs, the percentage of transduced cells increased between 5 and 30 days after injection. We used bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation to show that the macrophages were largely nondividing, whereas the transduced DCs arose from dividing precursor cells and could be detected in spleen 2 months after injection. Expression of ovalbumin (OVA) in the LV reduced the number of transduced DCs in spleen after 30 days. However, the remaining transduced cells stimulated proliferation and activation of OVA-specific CD8(+) T cells transferred 2 months after LV injection. The mice also maintained cytolytic activity against OVA-pulsed targets. These results show that LVs transduce DC precursors, which maintain transduced DCs in spleen for at least 2 months, leading to prolonged antigen presentation and effective T-cell memory.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / genetics
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Immunization / methods*
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods*