The phenomenon of RNA interference mediated by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) is a potent gene-silencing mechanism. A number of recent studies demonstrated inhibition of HIV-1 replication in cultured cells using this approach. To make further progress and harness this technology for HIV-1 gene therapy in a stem cell setting, in vivo studies using primary hematopoietic cells are needed. Using an HIV-based lentiviral vector we introduced an anti-Rev siRNA construct into CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells. The siRNA-transduced progenitor cells were allowed to mature into macrophages in vitro and T cells in vivo in SCID-hu mouse thy/liv grafts. Phenotypically normal T cells and macrophages displaying characteristic surface markers were obtained. In vitro HIV-1 challenge of the siRNA-expressing macrophages and T cells with macrophage-tropic and T-cell-tropic HIV-1, respectively, showed marked viral resistance. These experiments demonstrate the utility of siRNAs delivered into hematopoietic stem cells via lentiviral vectors for future in vivo applications.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology