Neuron-specific gene transfer through retrograde transport of lentiviral vector pseudotyped with a novel type of fusion envelope glycoprotein

Hum Gene Ther. 2011 Dec;22(12):1511-23. doi: 10.1089/hum.2011.111. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


The lentiviral vector system is used extensively in gene therapy trials for various neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. The vector system permits efficient and sustained gene expression in many cell types through integration of the transgene into the host cell genome. However, there is a significant issue concerning the therapeutic use of lentiviral vectors, that transgene insertion may lead to tumorigenesis by altering the expression of proto-oncogenes adjacent to the integration sites. One useful approach for improving safety is to restrict vector transduction to neuronal cells. We have reported the use of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-based vectors for efficient retrograde transport by pseudotyping with rabies virus glycoprotein (RV-G) or fusion glycoprotein B type, in which the cytoplasmic domain of RV-G was substituted with the counterpart of vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein (VSV-G). Here we developed a novel vector system for neuron-specific retrograde gene transfer (termed NeuRet) by pseudotyping the HIV-1 vector with fusion glycoprotein C type (FuG-C), in which a short C-terminal segment of the extracellular domain and the transmembrane/cytoplasmic domains of RV-G were replaced with the corresponding regions of VSV-G. FuG-C pseudotyping caused efficient gene transfer, mainly through retrograde transport, into neuronal cells in diverse brain regions, whereas the pseudotyping resulted in less efficiency for the transduction of glial and neural stem/progenitor cells. Our NeuRet vector system achieves efficient retrograde gene delivery for therapeutic trials and improves their safety by greatly reducing the risk of gene transduction of dividing cells in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • HIV-1 / genetics*
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics*
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Transgenes / physiology*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics*


  • G protein, vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein gC, herpes simplex virus type 1