Complement-protected amphotropic retroviruses from murine packaging cells

Dirk Spitzer, Hansjörg Hauser, Dagmar Wirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The application of retroviruses generated from murine cells for in vivo gene therapy is restricted primarily because of the rapid inactivation of these viruses by the human complement system. To circumvent this disadvantageous property of murine retroviruses we have generated infectious amphotropic retroviruses that exhibit strong protection against human complement attack. The membrane of these viruses contains a fusion protein, DAFF2A, that is composed of the catalytic domain of the human complement regulatory protein (CRP) decay-accelerating factor (DAF) and the envelope protein of the amphotropic murine leukemia virus (MuLV) 4070A (EnvA). The fusion of two other CRPs, MCP and CD59, to the same amphotropic Env moiety did not lead to equivalent results. The fusion protein DAFF2A was stably expressed in mouse NIH 3T3-based helper cells and independently identified with either α-DAF MAb or α-Env PAb on the cell membrane. Western blot analysis confirmed the expected molecular weight of the fusion protein. Viral titers obtained from NIH 3T3 helper cell pools were 5 x 105 CFU for wild- type amphotropic EnvA virus and 1 x 105 CFU for DAFF2A virus, respectively. By blocking the catalytic domain of DAF by pretreatment with α-DAF MAb DAFF2A, recombinant virions could be converted to wild-type with respect to sensitivity against human serum. Since the method for producing virions that are protected against human serum should be applicable to any cell type it offers a novel tool for human in vivo gene therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1893-1902
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 20 1999


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