Transduction of Pancreatic Islets with Pseudotyped Adeno-Associated Virus: Effect of Viral Capsid and Genome Conversion

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Recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors currently show promise for islet gene therapy. In the presence of complementing AAV2 Rep proteins, AAV2 genomes can be packaged with other serotype capsids to assemble infectious virions. During transduction, the ssDNA to dsDNA conversion is one of the major rate-limiting steps that contribute to the slow onset of transgene expression.


Using pseudotyping strategy, we produced double-stranded (dsAAV) and single-stranded (ssAAV) rAAV2 genomes carrying the GFP reporter gene packaged into AAV1, AAV2, and AAV5 capsids. The ability of cross-packaged AAV1, AAV2, and AAV5 at the same genome containing particle (gcp) concentration to transduce murine and human pancreatic islets was evaluated by GFP positive cell percentage. Transgenic expression was also determined by transplant transduced human islet into SCID mice.


Pseudotyped rAAV2/1 based vectors transduced murine islets at greater efficiency than either rAAV2/2 or rAAV2/5 vectors. For human islets transduction, the rAAV2/2 vector was more efficient than rAAV2/1 or rAAV2/5 vectors. rAAV2/2 transduced human islets more efficiently than murine islets, while rAAV2/1 transducted murine islets more efficiently than human islets. dsAAV, which do not require second strand synthesis and thus are potentially more efficient, evidenced 5 fold higher transduction ability than ssAAV vectors. Pseudotyped rAAV transduced islet grafts maintained normal function, expressed transgenic product persistently in vivo, and reversed diabetes.


The transduction efficiency of rAAV vectors was dependent on the cross-packaged capsid. The vector capsids permit species-specific transduction. For human islets, dsAAV2/2 vectors may be the most efficient vector for clinical development.

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