Transduction Efficiency of Zika Virus E Protein Pseudotyped HIV-1 gfp and Its Oncolytic Activity Tested in Primary Glioblastoma Cell Cultures

Cancers (Basel). 2024 Feb 17;16(4):814. doi: 10.3390/cancers16040814.


The development of new tools against glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive and common cancer originating in the brain, remains of utmost importance. Lentiviral vectors (LVs) are among the tools of future concepts, and pseudotyping offers the possibility of tailoring LVs to efficiently transduce and inactivate GBM tumor cells. Zika virus (ZIKV) has a specificity for GBM cells, leaving healthy brain cells unharmed, which makes it a prime candidate for the development of LVs with a ZIKV coat. Here, primary GBM cell cultures were transduced with different LVs encased with ZIKV envelope variants. LVs were generated by using the pNLgfpAM plasmid, which produces the lentiviral, HIV-1-based, core particle with GFP (green fluorescent protein) as a reporter (HIVgfp). Using five different GBM primary cell cultures and three laboratory-adapted GBM cell lines, we showed that ZIKV/HIVgfp achieved a 4-6 times higher transduction efficiency compared to the commonly used VSV/HIVgfp. Transduced GBM cell cultures were monitored over a period of 9 days to identify GFP+ cells to study the oncolytic effect due to ZIKV/HIVgfp entry. Tests of GBM tumor specificity by transduction of GBM tumor and normal brain cells showed a high specificity for GBM cells.

Keywords: Zika virus; flavivirus; glioblastoma cell culture; gp41; human cerebrospinal fluid; lentiviral vector; pseudotypes; retroviral vector; transmembrane domain.