Highly efficient ex vivo lentiviral transduction of primary human pancreatic exocrine cells

Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 1;9(1):15870. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51763-z.


The lack of efficient gene transfer methods into primary human pancreatic exocrine cells hampers studies on the plasticity of these cells and their possible role in beta cell regeneration. Therefore, improved gene transfer protocols are needed. Lentiviral vectors are widely used to drive ectopic gene expression in mammalian cells, including primary human islet cells. Here we aimed to optimize gene transfer into primary human exocrine cells using modified lentiviral vectors or transduction conditions. We evaluated different promoters, viral envelopes, medium composition and transduction adjuvants. Transduction efficiency of a reporter vector was evaluated by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. We show that protamine sulfate-assisted transduction of a VSV-G-pseudotyped vector expressing eGFP under the control of a CMV promoter in a serum-free environment resulted in the best transduction efficiency of exocrine cells, reaching up to 90% of GFP-positive cells 5 days after transduction. Our findings will enable further studies on pancreas (patho)physiology that require gene transfer such as gene overexpression, gene knockdown or lineage tracing studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Lentivirus*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas, Exocrine / cytology
  • Pancreas, Exocrine / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Transduction, Genetic*