The Improvement and Application of Lentivirus-Mediated Gene Transfer and Expression System in Penaeid Shrimp Cells

  • Xuemei Chen
  • Yueru Chen
  • Xiaotong Shen
  • Jianwei Zuo
  • Huarong GuoEmail author
Original Article


This study first reported the improvement and application of lentivirus-mediated gene transfer and expression system in shrimp cells. After modified by the inclusion of two envelope proteins (VP19 and VP28) of shrimp white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) into the envelope of the packaged lentivirus, and insertion of a truncated promoter of immediate-early gene 1 (Pie1-504) of shrimp WSSV virus into the lentiviral reporter plasmid, the second-generation lentiviral expression system (pLVX-PEF1α-IRES-mCherry, psPAX2, and PMD2.G) was found to behave better in the mitosis-arrested shrimp cells than the similarly modified retrovirus expression system did. Results from the insect sf9 cells indicated that the inclusion of VP19 and VP28 into the envelope of packaged lentiviruses could significantly improve the tropism or infectivity of the modified lentiviruses to insect cells in a cumulative way. Notably, the VP28 contributed about 86% of the total increase of the tropism. In the shrimp primary lymphoid cells infected by modified lentivirus IV with both VP19 and VP28 included, the infection efficiency was up to 11% (non-confocal) and 19% (confocal) and no background fluorescent signal was observed. However, background fluorescent signal was observed in the shrimp primary Oka organ cells although only under a confocal microscope. In the lentivirus IV-infected Oka organ cells, the actual infection efficiencies were calculated up to 8% (non-confocal) and 19% (confocal), significantly higher than those of commercial intact lentivirus I of 0 (non-confocal) and 3% (confocal). The insertion of WSSV promoter (Pie1-504) had interrupted the effective expression of reporter plasmid encoding lentiviral construct of pLVX-PEF1α-Pie1-504-IRES-mCherry in the HEK293T cells, but markedly increased its efficiencies up to 14% (non-confocal) and 26% (confocal) in the Oka organ cells. This improved lentivirus expression system will provide us a useful tool for efficient gene transfer and expression in shrimp cells.


Shrimp Primary cell Lentivirus Infection White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) Envelope protein 



We thank our colleague Dr. Tao Liu for his kind help in the ultra-centrifugation and Dr. Jiankai Wei for his kind help in the confocal observation.

Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31472274 and 31172391) and Grants 201822018 and 201762003 from the Fundamental Research Funds for Central Universities (China).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All applicable, international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed in the present study for shrimps.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuemei Chen
    • 1
  • Yueru Chen
    • 1
  • Xiaotong Shen
    • 1
  • Jianwei Zuo
    • 1
  • Huarong Guo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Marine Genetics and Breeding, College of Marine Life SciencesOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Institute of Evolution and Marine BiodiversityOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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