Human-immunodeficiency-virus (HIV)-based lentiviral vectors are a promising tool for in vivo gene therapy. Unlike Moloney-murine-leukaemia- based retroviruses (MLV), lentiviruses are believed to stably transduce quiescent (non-cycling) cells in various organs. No previous studies, however, have directly established the cell-cycle status of any transduced cell type at the time of vector administration in vivo. In vitro studies using wild-type HIV or HIV-based vectors have shown that, in some cases, cell-cycle activation is required for infection, even though cellular mitosis is not an absolute requirement for integration. Even if the block in reverse transcription is overcome in quiescent T cells, productive infection by HIV cannot be rescued in the absence of cell-cycle activation. The potential use of these vectors for gene therapy prompted our study, which establishes a cell-cycle requirement for efficient transduction of hepatocytes in vivo.
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