Replacement of the murine leukemia virus (MLV) envelope gene with a truncated HIV envelope gene in MLV generates a virus with impaired replication capacity

Ursula Nack, Barbara S Schnierle
Virology 2003 October 10, 315 (1): 209-16
Murine leukemia virus (MLV) capsid particles can be efficiently pseudotyped with a variant of the HIV-1 envelope protein (Env) containing the surface glycoprotein gp120-SU and a carboxyl-terminally truncated transmembrane (TM) protein, with only seven cytoplasmic amino acids. MLV/HIV pseudotyped vector particles acquire the natural host tropism of HIV-1 and their entry is dependent on the presence of CD4 and an appropriate co-receptor on the surface of the target cell. We describe here the construction of chimeric MLV/HIV proviruses containing the truncated HIV envelope gene. The MLV/HIV provirus was generated by direct replacement of the MLV envelope gene with HIV Env coding sequences either with or without the additional inclusion of the woodchuck hepatitis virus posttranscriptional regulatory element (WPRE). Chimeric MLV/HIV particles could be generated from transfected 293T cells and were able to infect CD4/CXCR4-positive target cells. However, the second round of infection of target cells was severely impaired, despite the fact that the WPRE element enhanced the amount of viral mRNA detected. Viral particles released from infected cells showed reduced HIV Env incorporation, indicating that additional factors required for efficient replication of MLV/HIV pseudotyped viruses are missing.

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