Selective cell targeting and lineage tracing of human induced pluripotent stem cells using recombinant avian retroviruses


Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) differentiate into multiple cell types. Selective cell targeting is often needed for analyzing gene function by overexpressing proteins in a distinct population of hiPSC-derived cell types and for monitoring cell fate in response to stimuli. However, to date, this has not been possible, as commonly used viruses enter the hiPSC via ubiquitously expressed receptors. Here, we report for the first time the application of a heterologous avian receptor, the tumor virus receptor A (TVA), to selectively transduce TVA+ cells in a mixed cell population. Expression of the TVA surface receptor via genetic engineering renders cells susceptible for infection by avian leucosis virus (ALV). We generated hiPSC lines with this stably integrated, ectopic TVA receptor gene that expressed the receptor while retaining pluripotency. The undifferentiated hiPSCTVA+ as well as their differentiating progeny could be infected by recombinant ALV (so-called RCAS virus) with high efficiency. Due to incomplete receptor blocking, even sequential infection of differentiating or undifferentiated TVA+ cells was possible. In conclusion, the TVA/RCAS system provides an efficient and gentle gene transfer system for hiPSC and extends our possibilities for selective cell targeting and lineage tracing studies.
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