High-efficient lentiviral vector-mediated gene transfer into primary human NK cells

Federica Micucci, Alessandra Zingoni, Mario Piccoli, Luigi Frati, Angela Santoni, Ricciarda Galandrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The long-term transfection of genes into primary natural killer (NK) cells without disrupting normal cellular functions has been proven to be difficult with currently available gene-transfer methods. In this study, we establish a lentiviral vector-based technique for improved gene transfer into human NK cells in vitro and we report on high-efficient transduction of freshly isolated as well as cultured primary NK cells. Methods: Freshly isolated or primary cultured human NK cells, as well as the human NK cell line YTS, were transduced with replication-incompetent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-based lentiviral vector bearing a GFP reporter gene or a gene of interest under the control of the elongation factor 1α (EF1α) promoter. Transduction efficiencies were monitored by flow cytometry. Results: A long-term transgene expression was detected in up to 98% of YTS NK cells, whereas in freshly isolated or primary cultured NK cells exposed to interleukin (IL)-2 plus IL-12 upon infection, efficiency was in the range of 50% to 90%. Moreover, in freshly isolated quiescent NK cells a transfection efficiency of 18% to 20% was achieved without stimulation. Notably, no major phenotypic and functional modifications were observed in transduced cells with respect to control cells: the expression levels of activating receptors, CD69-antigen induction as well as cytotoxic function were unaffected. Conclusion: Results of our study demonstrate that NK cells can be efficiently transduced by lentiviral vectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1344-1352
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Hematology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Transplantation


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