Differences in the internalization of self-inactivating VSVG-pseudotyped murine leukemia virus-based vectors in human and murine cells

J Virol Methods. 2018 May;255:14-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2018.02.005. Epub 2018 Feb 6.


Self-inactivating VSVG-pseudotyped murine leukemia virus (SIN-VSVG-MLV) has been widely used to generate stable cell lines and produce gene delivery vectors. Despite the broad cellular tropism of the VSVG-pseudotyped MLV, we observed differential viral transduction efficiency depending on the host cell type used. In order to determine the mechanism underlying these differences, we used a GFP-expressing SIN-VSVG-MLV and analyzed the major steps of viral transduction in different cell lines including human epithelial, T-lymphocytes, monocytes and murine fibroblast cells. We observed the better transduction efficiency in HeLa cells, which was 20-fold higher than THP-1 and NIH/3T3 cells. To quantify viral internalization, we determined genomic RNA content by quantifying the early reverse transcription product. Genomic RNA and transduction levels were correlated with HeLa cells showing the higher amount of early RT product followed by tsA201 cells, while NIH/3T3, Jurkat and THP-1 had the lowest amounts. Similar results were observed when the late reverse transcription product was analyzed. Reverse transcription efficiency was 66-85% in HeLa cells and about 30% in tsA201, NIH/3T3, Jurkat and THP-1 cells. Viral integration, determined by Alu-Nested-qPCR, was higher for HeLa and lowerst for Jurkat and THP-1 cells. Interestingly, we observed that viral entry was correlated with the cellular availability of clathrin-mediated endocytosis, which was higher in HeLa and tsA201 cells, potentially explaining the higher rates of SIN-VSVG-MLV transduction and early RT synthesis observed in these cell lines. In conclusion, the SIN-VSVG-MLV vector showed significantly different rates of infectivity depending on the host cell type, possibly due to differential rates of viral internalization.

Keywords: Reverse transcription; VSVG-pseudotyped-MLV; Vector transduction; Viral internalization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine / genetics*
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine / metabolism*
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine / physiology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Internalization*


  • G protein, vesicular stomatitis virus
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Viral Envelope Proteins