Green fluorescent protein as a reporter for retrovirus and helper virus-free HSV-1 amplicon vector-mediated gene transfer into neural cells in culture and in vivo

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GREEN fluorescent protein (GFP) is an effective marker for retrovirus and herpes virus vector-mediated gene transfer into various central nervous system-derived cells, both proliferative and non-proliferative, in culture and in vivo. Retrovirus vectors were used to stably transduce several rat and human glioma lines, and a multi-potent mouse neural progenitor line in culture. Implantation of selected pools of transduced glioma cells into rodent brain allowed clear visualization of the tumor and the invading tumor edge. Helper virus-free HSV-1 amplicon vectors successfully transferred gfp into non-dividing primary neural cells in culture and in the rat brain. This study describes the versatility of GFP for: (i) labelling of glioma cells in experimental brain tumor models and neural progenitor cells by retrovirus vectors, and (ii) efficient, non-toxic delivery of genes to post mitotic cells of the nervous system using helper-virus free HSV-1 amplicon vectors.

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