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Optimization of the Capsid of Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus 2 (AAV2) Vectors: The Final Threshold?

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posted on 21.09.2015 by George V. Aslanidi, Angela E. Rivers, Luis Ortiz, Liujiang Song, Chen Ling, Lakshmanan Govindasamy, Kim Van Vliet, Mengqun Tan, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Arun Srivastava
The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway plays a critical role in the intracellular trafficking of AAV2 vectors, and phosphorylation of certain surface-exposed amino acid residues on the capsid provides the primary signal for ubiquitination. Removal of several critical tyrosine (Y) and serine (S) residues on the AAV2 capsid has been shown to significantly increase transduction efficiency compared with the wild-type (WT) vectors. In the present study, site-directed mutagenesis of each of the 17 surface-exposed threonine (T) residues was conducted, and the transduction efficiency of four of these mutants, T455V, T491V, T550V, and T659V, was observed to increase up to 4-fold in human HEK293 cells in vitro. The most critical Y, S, and T mutations were subsequently combined, and the quadruple-mutant (Y444+500+730F+T491V) AAV2 vector was identified as the most efficient. This vector increased the transduction efficiency similar to 24-fold over the WT AAV2 vector, and similar to 2-3-fold over the previously described triple-mutant (Y444+500+730F) vector in a murine hepatocyte cell line, H2.35, in vitro. Similar results were obtained in murine hepatocytes in vivo following tail vein injection of the Y444+500+730F+T491V scAAV2 vector, and whole-body bioluminescence imaging of C57BL/6 mice. The increase in the transduction efficiency of the Y-T quadruple-mutant over that of the Y triple-mutant correlated with an improved nuclear translocation of the vectors, which exceeded 90%. These observations suggest that further optimization of the AAV2 capsid by targeting amino acid residues involved in phosphorylation may not be possible. This study has thus led to the generation of a novel Y444+500+730F+T491V quadruple-mutant AAV2 vector with potential for use in liver-directed human gene therapy.




This research was supported in part by Public Health Service grants R01 GM-082946 (to MA-M), and P01 DK-058327 (Project 1), and R01 HL-097088 from the National Institutes of Health, and Special Award from the Bayer Hemophilia Foundation (to AS).


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2013 Aslanidi et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. This is a copy of an article published in the PLoS ONE © 2013 Public Library of Science.


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