Lentiviral vectors (LV) that are used in research and development as well as in clinical trials are in majority vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein (VSVg) pseudotyped. The predominance of this pseudotype choice for clinical gene therapy studies is largely due to a lack of purification schemes for pseudotypes other than VSVg. In this study, we report for the first time the development of a new downstream process protocol allowing high-yield production of stable and infectious gibbon ape leukemia virus (GaLV)-TR-LV particles. We identified critical conditions in tangential flow filtration (TFF) and chromatographic steps for preserving the infectivity/functionality of LV during purification. This was carried out by identifying for each step, the critical parameters affecting LV infectivity, including pH, salinity, presence of stabilizers, temperature, and by defining the optimal order of these steps. A three-step process was developed for GaLV-TR-LV purification consisting of one TFF and two chromatographic steps (ion-exchange chromatography and size exclusion chromatography) permitting recoveries of >27% of infectious particles. With this process, purified GaLV-pseudotyped LV enabled the transduction of 70% human CD34+ cells in the presence of the Vectofusin-1 peptide, whereas in the same conditions nonpurified vector transduced only 9% of the cells (multiplicity of infection 20). Our protocol will allow for the first time the purification of GaLV-TR-LV that are biologically active, stable, and with sufficient recovery in the perspective of preclinical studies and clinical applications. Obviously, further optimizations are required to improve final vector yields.
Keywords: GaLV; chromatography; lentivirus vectors; production; purification; tangential flow filtration.