Background/Aims: Chronic HBV infection, a world-wide epidemic, can lead to chronic hepatitis and eventually to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The liver poses obstacles for many available gene-transfer vectors. SV40-based vectors can transduce human hepatic and hematopoietic cells. We studied the effect of HBV on the transduction - efficiency of human hepatic cells by SV40 - based vectors. Methods: A SV40-vector carrying the luciferase gene, and wild-type SV40, were used to assess transduction efficiency of human HBV-positive and HBV-negative hepatic cells. Transduction efficiency was measured as luciferase activity or by T-antigen staining. To evaluate whether differences in transduction efficiency are due to cell recognition and/or nuclear transport, MHC-I receptors were measured by FACS analysis and SV40-DNA was extracted from the nuclei of transduced cells and quantified. Results: Two HBV-positive cell-lines, HepG126.96.36.199 and FLC4-A10II, were transduced significantly more efficiently than their parental HBV-negative cell-lines. Transient transfection of HuH-7 cells with the HBV genome also increased transduction efficiency. The level of MHC-I, the cellular receptor for SV40, was comparable in all the cell-lines studied. However, soon after infection with SV40, the nuclei of HepG188.8.131.52 contained >6-fold more SV40-DNA than HepG2. Conclusions: HBV increases transduction by SV40-vectors. This is due to enhanced vector entry and/or transport into the nucleus. SV40-vectors appear to have a potential for gene therapy for the treatment of HBV infections.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Nili Daudi for culture of primary human hepatocytes and Dr Amal Bishara for supplying anti-MHC-I antibodies. This research was supported by The Hebrew University Internal Fund and by a research grant from The Friends of the Hebrew University, USA. U.A. is a recipient of a Foulkes Foundation Fellowship.
- Gene therapy