Here we report the generation of Tre recombinase through directed, molecular evolution. Tre recombinase recognizes a pre-defined target sequence within the LTR sequences of the HIV-1 provirus, resulting in the excision and eradication of the provirus from infected human cells. While still in its infancy, directed molecular evolution will allow the creation of custom enzymes that will serve as tools of molecular surgery and molecular medicine.
Current HIV-1 strategies act to suppress the viral life cycle but do not effectively eradicate infection. Here, we demonstrate that an engineered recombinase can efficiently excise integrated HIV-1 proviral DNA from the genome of infected cells.
In this protocol we describe production, purification and titration of lentiviral vectors. We provide an example of lentiviral vector-mediated gene delivery in primary cultured neurons and astrocytes. Our methods may also apply to other cell types in vitro and in vivo.