2022 Volume 47 Issue 1 Pages 43-53
The ongoing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has threatened human health and the global economy. Development of additional vaccines and therapeutics is urgently required, but such development with live virus must be conducted with biosafety level 3 confinement. Pseudotyped viruses have been widely adopted for studies of virus entry and pharmaceutical development to overcome this restriction. Here we describe a modified protocol to generate vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) pseudotyped with SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in high yield. We found that a large proportion of pseudovirions produced with the conventional transient expression system lacked coronavirus spike protein at their surface as a result of inhibition of parental VSV infection by overexpression of this protein. Establishment of stable cell lines with an optimal expression level of coronavirus spike protein allowed the efficient production of progeny pseudoviruses decorated with spike protein. This improved VSV pseudovirus production method should facilitate studies of coronavirus entry and development of antiviral agents.
Key words: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2, pseudovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), spike protein