Integration-deficient lentiviruses (IdLVs) deliver genes effectively to tissues but are lost rapidly from dividing cells. This property can be harnessed to express transgenes transiently to manipulate cell biology. Here, we demonstrate the utility of short-term gene expression to improve functional potency of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) during transplantation by delivering HOXB4 and Angptl3 using IdLVs to enhance the engraftment of HSPCs. Constitutive overexpression of either of these genes is likely to be undesirable, but the transient nature of IdLVs reduces this risk and those associated with unsolicited gene expression in daughter cells. Transient expression led to increased multilineage hematopoietic engraftment in in vivo competitive repopulation assays without the side effects reported in constitutive overexpression models. Adult stem cell fate has not been programmed previously using IdLVs, but we demonstrate that these transient gene expression tools can produce clinically relevant alterations or be applied to investigate basic biology. (C) 2018 ISEH Society for Hematology and Stem Cells. Published by Elsevier Inc.