Many replicating viruses, including HIV-1 and HTLV-1, are efficiently transmitted from the cell surface of actively infected cells upon contact with bystander cells. In a previous study, we reported the prolonged cell surface retention of VSV-G replication-deficient pseudotyped lentivector prior to endocytic entry. However, the competing kinetics of cell surface versus dissociation, neutralization or direct transfer to other cells have received comparatively little attention. Here we demonstrate that the relative efficiency of cell-cell surface transmission can outpace "cell-free" transduction at limiting vector input. This coincides with the prolonged half-life of cell bound vector but occurs, unlike HTLV-1, without evidence for particle aggregation. These studies suggest that cell-surface attachment stabilizes particles and alters neutralization kinetics. Our experiments provide novel insight into the underexplored cell-cell transmission of pseudotyped particles.
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