Efficient transduction of LEDGF/p75 mutant cells by complementary gain-of-function HIV-1 integrase mutant viruses


Controlling the specificity of retroviral DNA integration could improve the safety of gene therapy vectors, and fusions of heterologous chromatin binding modules to the integrase-binding domain from the lentiviral integration host cofactor LEDGF/p75 are a promising retargeting strategy. We previously proposed the utility of integrase mutant lentiviral vectors that are selectively activated by complementary LEDGF/p75 variants, and our initial modifications in HIV-1 integrase and LEDGF/p75 supported about 13% of wild-type vector transduction activity. Here we describe the selection and characterization of the K42E gain-of-function mutation in HIV-1 integrase, which greatly improves the efficiency of this system. Both K42E and initial reverse-charge mutations in integrase negatively impacted reverse transcription and integration, yet when combined together boosted viral transduction efficiency to ~75% of the wild-type vector in a manner dependent on a complementary LEDGF/p75 variant. Although the K42E mutation conferred functional gains to integrase mutant viral reverse transcription and integration, only the integration boost depended on the engineered LEDGF/p75 mutant. We conclude that the specificity of lentiviral retargeting strategies based on heterologous LEDGF/p75 fusion proteins will benefit from our optimized system that utilizes the unique complementation properties of reverse-charge integrase mutant viral and LEDGF/p75 host proteins.

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