Self-complementary and tyrosine-mutant rAAV vectors enhance transduction in cystic fibrosis bronchial epithelial cells

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Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector platforms have shown considerable therapeutic success in gene therapy for inherited disorders. In cystic fibrosis (CF), administration of first-generation rAAV2 was safe, but clinical benefits were not clearly demonstrated. Therefore, next-generation vectors that overcome rate-limiting steps in rAAV transduction are needed to obtain successful gene therapy for this devastating disease. In this study, we evaluated the effects of single-strand or self-complementary (sc) rAAV vectors containing single or multiple tyrosine-to-phenylalanine (Y-F) mutations in capsid surface-exposed residues on serotypes 2, 8 or 9. For this purpose, CF bronchial epithelial (CFBE) cells were transduced with rAAV vectors, and the transgene expression of enhanced green fluorescence protein (eGFP) was analyzed at different time points. The effects of vectors on the cell viability, host cell cycle and in association with co-adjuvant drugs that modulate intracellular vector trafficking were also investigated. Six rAAV vectors demonstrated greater percentage of eGFP+ cells compared to their counterparts at days 4, 7 and 10 post-transduction: rAAV2 Y(272,444,500,730)F, with 1.95-, 3.5- and 3.06-fold increases; rAAV2 Y(252,272,444,500,704,730)F, with 1.65-, 2.12-, and 2-fold increases; scrAAV2 WT, with 1.69-, 2.68-, and 2.32-fold increases; scrAAV8 Y773F, with 57-, 6.06-, and 7-fold increases; scrAAV9 WT, with 7.47-, 4.64-, and 3.66-fold increases; and scrAAV9 Y446F, with 8.39-, 4.62-, and 4.4-fold increases. At days 15, 20, and 30 post-transduction, these vectors still demonstrated higher transgene expression than transfected cells. Although the percentage of eGFP+ cells reduced during the time-course analysis, the delta mean fluorescence intensity increased. These vectors also led to increased percentage of cells in G1-phase without eliciting any cytotoxicity. Prior administration of bortezomib or genistein did not increase eGFP expression in cells transduced with either rAAV2 Y(272,444,500,730)F or rAAV2 Y(252,272,444,500,704,730)F. In conclusion, self-complementary and tyrosine capsid mutations on rAAV serotypes 2, 8, and 9 led to more efficient transduction than their counterparts in CFBE cells by overcoming the intracellular trafficking and second-strand DNA synthesis limitations.

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