Highly efficient and sustained gene transfer in adult neurons with a lentivirus vector
The identification of monogenic and complex genes responsible for neurological disorders requires new approaches for delivering therapeutic protein genes to significant numbers of cells in the central nervous system. A lentivirus-based vector capable of infecting dividing and quiescent cells was investigated in vivo by injecting highly concentrated viral vector stock into the striatum and hippocampus of adult rats. Control brains were injected with a Moloney murine leukemia virus, adenovirus, or adeno-associated virus vector. The volumes of the areas containing transduced cells and the transduced-cell densities were stereologically determined to provide a basis for comparison among different viral vectors and variants of the viral vector stocks. The efficiency of infection by the lentivirus vector was improved by deoxynucleoside triphosphate pretreatment of the vector and was reduced following mutation of integrase and the Vpr-matrix protein complex involved in the nuclear translocation of the preintegration complex. The lentivirus vector system was able to efficiently and stably infect quiescent cells in the primary injection site with transgene expression for over 6 months. Triple labeling showed that 88.7% of striatal cells transduced by the lentivirus vector were terminally differentiated neurons.