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Stem-cell Based Engineered Immunity Against HIV Infection in the Humanized Mouse Model

Published: July 2nd, 2016



1David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles

This protocol describes the methods in constructing a humanized bone-marrow/liver/thymus mouse model with stem cell-based engineered immunity against HIV infection.

With the rapid development of stem cell-based gene therapies against HIV, there is pressing requirement for an animal model to study the hematopoietic differentiation and immune function of the genetically modified cells. The humanized Bone-marrow/Liver/Thymus (BLT) mouse model allows for full reconstitution of a human immune system in the periphery, which includes T cells, B cells, NK cells and monocytes. The human thymic implant also allows for thymic selection of T cells in autologous thymic tissue. In addition to the study of HIV infection, the model stands as a powerful tool to study differentiation, development and functionality of cells derived from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Here we outline the construction of humanized non-obese diabetic (NOD)-severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)-common gamma chain knockout (cγ-/-)-Bone-marrow/Liver/Thymus (NSG-BLT) mice with HSCs transduced with CD4 chimeric antigen receptor (CD4CAR) lentivirus vector. We show that the CD4CAR HSCs can successfully differentiate into multiple lineages and have anti-HIV activity. The goal of the study is to demonstrate the use of NSG-BLT mouse model as an in vivo model for engineered immunity against HIV. It is worth noting that, because lentivirus and human tissue is used, experiments and surgeries should be performed in a Class II biosafety cabinet in a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) with special precautions (BSL2+) facility.

Despite the success of combined anti-retroviral therapy, HIV infection is still a lifelong disease. The cellular immune response against HIV plays highly important role in controlling HIV replication. Recent advances in stem cell manipulation has allowed for the rapid development of gene therapy approaches for HIV treatment1-3. As a result, it is important to have a proper animal model that allows in vivo study of the efficacy of cell-based therapies against HIV.

Working with HIV in animal models is complicated by the fact that the virus only infects human cells. To circumvent this limitation, scientists have resorted to....

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Ethic Statement: Human fetal tissue was obtained from Advanced Biosciences Resources or from Novogenix and was obtained without identifying information and did not require IRB approval for its use. Animal research described in this manuscript was performed under the written approval of the University of California, Los Angeles, and (UCLA) Animal Research Committee (ARC) in accordance to all federal, state, and local guidelines. Specifically, these studies were carried out under strict accordance to .......

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Figure 1 shows an outline of constructing humanized BLT mice with modified stem cell. 10 weeks after the implant surgery, the mice were sacrificed to evaluate the differentiation and development of gene modified cells. As shown in Figure 2, multiple lymphoid tissues (blood, spleen, thymus and bone marrow) were harvested from a mouse that was modified with CD4ζCAR. The CD4ζCAR used in this protocol contains CD4 chimeric antigen receptor and GFP t.......

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With CAR and HSC-based engineered immunity gaining momentum towards clinical studies, it is important to have a proper animal model to closely examine the differentiation and function of these engineered cells. In this protocol we described the methods for constructing and testing humanized mice with genetically modified stem-cells engineered against HIV. It is important to have efficient transduction of stem cells prior to transplant. However, due to the ability of T cell to proliferate upon recognition of target cells,.......

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We would like to thank Ms. Jessica Selander in providing artistic assistant in making our figures. This work was funded by grants from the NIAID/NIH, grant no. RO1AI078806, the UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), grant no. P30AI28697, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, grant no. TR4-06845, the American Federation for AIDS Research (amfAR), grant no. #108929-54-RGRL, and the UC Multi-campus Research Program and Initiatives, California Center for Antiviral Drug discovery (CCADD)


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
CD34 microbead kit miltenyi 130-046-702 For sorting human CD34+ progenitor cells
Bambanker Wako 302-14681 for freezing cells
QIAamp Viral RNA kit  Qiagen 52904 For measuring viral load in the serum
MACSQuant Flow Cytometer Miltenyi For flow analysis
BD LSRFortessa™ BD biosciences For flow analysis
Hyaluronidase Sigma H6254-500MG  For tissue digestion
Deoxyribonuclease I       Worthington LS002006  for tissue digestion
Collagenase Life technology 17104-019  for tissue digestion
CFX Real time PCR detection system Biorad For measuring viral load and gene expression
Mice, strain NOD.Cg-Prkdcscid Il2rgtm1Wjl/SzJ The Jackson Laboratory 5557 For constructing the humanized mice
Penicillin Streptomycin (Pen Strep) Thermo Fisher Scientific 10378016 For culturing cells
piperacillin/tazobactam Pfizer Zosyn Anti-fungal
Amphotericin B (Fungizone antimycotic) Thermo Fisher Scientific 15290-018 Anti-fungal
AUTOCLIP Wound Clips, 9 mm - 1000 units     Becton Dickinson 427631  For surgery
Sterile Poly-Reinforced Aurora Surgical Gowns, 30 per case       Medline DYNJP2707  For surgery
sutures, 4-0, vicryl           Owens and Minor 23000J304H   For surgery
Alcohol prep pads           Owens and Minor 3583006818 For surgery
Gloves, surgical, 6 1/2 Owens and Minor 4075711102 For surgery
Yssel’s Serum-Free T-Cell Medium Gemini Bio-products 400-102 For CD34+ cell transduction
Human Serum Albumin  Sigma-Aldrich A9511 For CD34+ cell transduction

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