© S. Louise Pay et al. 2018. In lentiviral vector (LV) applications where transient transgene expression is sufficient, integrase-defective lentiviral vectors (IDLVs) are beneficial for reducing the potential for off-target effects associated with insertional mutagenesis. It was previously demonstrated that human RPE65 mRNA expression from an integrating lentiviral vector (ILV) induces endogenous Rpe65 and Cralbp mRNA expression in murine bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs), initiating programming of the cells to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-like cells. These cells regenerate RPE in retinal degeneration models when injected systemically. As transient expression of RPE65 is sufficient to activate endogenous RPE-associated genes for programming BMDCs, use of an ILV is an unnecessary risk. In this study, an IDLV expressing RPE65 (IDLV3-RPE65) was generated. Transduction with IDLV3-RPE65 is less efficient than the integrating vector (ILV3-RPE65). Therefore, IDLV3-RPE65 transduction was enhanced with a combination of preloading 20 × -concentrated viral supernatant on RetroNectin at a multiplicity of infection of 50 and transduction of BMDCs by low-speed centrifugation. RPE65 mRNA levels increased from ∼12-fold to ∼25-fold (p < 0.05) after modification of the IDLV3-RPE65 transduction protocol, achieving expression similar to the ∼27-fold (p < 0.05) increase observed with ILV3-RPE65. Additionally, the study shows that the same preparation of RetroNectin can be used to coat up to three wells with no reduction in transduction. Critically, IDLV3-RPE65 transduction initiates endogenous Rpe65 mRNA expression in murine BMDCs and Cralbp/CRALBP mRNA in both murine and human BMDCs, similar to expression observed in ILV3-RPE65-transduced cells. Systemic administration of ILV3-RPE65 or IDLV3-RPE65 programmed BMDCs in a mouse model of retinal degeneration is sufficient to retain visual function and reduce retinal degeneration compared to mice receiving no treatment or naïve BMDC. It is concluded that IDLV3-RPE65 is appropriate for programming BMDCs to RPE-like cells.