Rabies virus vector transgene expression level and cytotoxicity improvement induced by deletion of glycoprotein gene

Shinya Ohara, Sho Sato, Kei Oyama, Ken Ichiro Tsutsui, Toshio Iijima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The glycoprotein (G) of rabies virus (RV) is required for binding to neuronal receptors and for viral entry. G-deleted RV vector is a powerful tool for investigating the organization and function of the neural circuits. It gives the investigator the ability to genetically target initial infection to particular neurons and to control trans-synaptic propagation. In this study we have quantitatively evaluated the effect of G gene deletion on the cytotoxicity and transgene expression level of the RV vector. We compared the characteristics of the propagation-competent RV vector (rHEP5.0-CVSG-mRFP) and the G-deleted RV vector (rHEP5.0-ΔG-mRFP), both of which are based on the attenuated HEP-Flury strain and express monomeric red fluorescent protein (mRFP) as a transgene. rHEP5.0-ΔGmRFP showed lower cytotoxicity than rHEP5.0-CVSG-mRFP, and within 16 days of infection we found no change in the basic electrophysiological properties of neurons infected with the rHEP5.0-ΔG-mRFP. The mRFP expression level of rHEP5.0-ΔG-mRFP was much higher than that of rHEP5.0-CVSG-mRFP, and 3 days after infection the retrogradely infected neurons were clearly visualized by the expressed fluorescent protein without any staining. This may be due to the low cytotoxicity and/or the presumed change in the polymerase gene (L) expression level of the Gdeleted RV vector. Although the mechanisms remains to be clarified, the results of this study indicate that deletion of the G gene greatly improves the usability of the RV vector for studying the organization and function of the neural circuits by decreasing the cytotoxicity and increasing the transgene expression level.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere80245
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Nov 7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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