It has been reported that endogenous retroviruses can contaminate human cell lines that have been passaged as xenotransplants in immunocompromised mice. We previously developed and described 2 human pancreatic β cell lines (EndoC-βH1 and EndoC-βH2) that were generated in this way. Here, we have shown that B10 xenotropic virus 1 (Bxv1), a xenotropic endogenous murine leukemia virus (MuLV), is present in these 2 recently described cell lines. We determined that Bxv1 was also present in SCID mice that were used for in vivo propagation of EndoC-βH1/2 cells, suggesting that contamination occurred during xenotransplantation. EndoC-βH1/2 cells released Bxv1 particles that propagated to human 293T and Mus dunni cells. Mobilization assays demonstrated that Bxv1 transcomplements defective MuLV-based retrovectors. In contrast, common rodent β cell lines, rat INS-1E and RIN-5F cells and mouse MIN6 and βTC3 cells, displayed either no or extremely weak xenotropic helper activity toward MuLV-based retrovectors, although xenotropic retrovirus sequences and transcripts were detected in both mouse cell lines. Bxv1 propagation from EndoC-βH1/2 to 293T cells occurred only under optimized conditions and was overall poorly efficient. Thus, although our data imply that MuLV-based retrovectors should be cautiously used in EndoC-βH1/2 cells, our results indicate that an involuntary propagation of Bxv1 from these cells can be easily avoided with good laboratory practices.
Jeannette S. Kirkegaard, Philippe Ravassard, Signe Ingvarsen, Marc Diedisheim, Emilie Bricout-Neveu, Mads Grønborg, Thomas Frogne, Raphael Scharfmann, Ole D. Madsen, Claude Rescan, Olivier Albagli
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