Retroviral integrase is an enzyme responsible for the integration of retroviruses. A single mutation in the integrase core domain can severely compromise its integration ability, leading to the accumulation of circular retroviral cDNA in the nuclei of infected cells. We therefore attempted to use those cDNA as substrates for Cre recombinase to perform a recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE), thereby targeting retroviral vectors to a predetermined site. An expression unit containing a promoter, an ATG codon and marker genes (hygromycin resistance gene and red fluorescent protein gene) flanked by wild-type and mutant loxP sites was first introduced into cellular chromosome to build founder cell lines. We then constructed another plasmid for the production of integrase-defective retroviral vectors (IDRV), which contains an ATG-deficient neomycin resistance gene and green fluorescent protein gene, flanked by a compatible pair of loxPs. After providing founder cells with Cre and infecting with IDRV later, effective RMCE occurred, resulting in the appearance of G418-resistant colonies and a change in the color of fluorescence from red to green. Southern blot and PCR analyses on selected clones further confirmed site-specific recombination. The successful substitution of the original viral integration machinery with a non-viral mechanism could expand the application of retroviral vectors. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;107:717-729.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology