High cloning capacity of in vitro packaged SV40 vectors with no SV40 virus sequences

Chava Kimchi-Sarfaty, Mili Arora, Ziv Sandalon, Ariella Oppenheim, Michael M. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In vitro packaging of plasmid DNA using recombinant SV40 capsid proteins is a potentially useful procedure that overcomes some restrictions of the other SV40 systems such as the requirement for SV40 sequences and the limitation in size of DNA that can be packaged. The in vitro packaging system uses the four SV40 proteins (VP1, VP2, VP3, and agno) or VP1 only. The ability to confer drug resistance by three ABC transporter genes (MDR1, MRP1, or MXR) was determined using the surrogate fluorescent substrates rhodamine-123 or calcein AM and their specific inhibitors, or by using specific antibodies to the transporters to detect cell surface expression by fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis (FACS). A green fluorescent protein plasmid (EGFP-C1) was also used to monitor gene transfer. The packaged plasmids ranged in size from 4.2 to 17.6 kb, and only slightly affected particle size as determined by electron microscopy. When 9.5 kb and larger plasmids were packaged using all SV40 proteins, MDR1 expression was decreased compared to VP1 alone. The size of the 15.2 kb DNA after packaging was the same as the original DNA. Packaging with SV40 capsid proteins in vitro does not require any SV40 sequences. Using either the MDR1 or the GFP gene we could demonstrate enhanced expression when cells were pretreated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) at low concentrations. Interferon-γ did not alter expression. We conclude that in vitro packaging is more flexible then previously realized, permitting packaging of at least 17 kb plasmid DNA without the requirement for any viral sequences. This system combines efficient gene delivery of the SV40 viral vector with the presumed safety of nonviral vectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-177
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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