Engraftment of a galactose receptor footprint onto adeno-associated viral capsids improves transduction efficiency.
New viral strains can be evolved to recognize different host glycans through mutagenesis and experimental adaptation. However, such mutants generally harbor amino acid changes that affect viral binding to a single class of carbohydrate receptors. We describe the rational design and synthesis of novel, chimeric adeno-associated virus (AAV) strains that exploit an orthogonal glycan receptor for transduction. A dual glycan-binding AAV strain was first engineered as proof of concept by grafting a galactose (Gal)-binding footprint from AAV serotype 9 onto the heparan sulfate-binding AAV serotype 2. The resulting chimera, AAV2G9, continues to bind heparin affinity columns but interchangeably exploits Gal and heparan sulfate receptors for infection, as evidenced by competitive inhibition assays with lectins, glycans, and parental AAV strains. Although remaining hepatotropic like AAV2, the AAV2G9 chimera mediates rapid onset and higher transgene expression in mice. Similarly, engraftment of the Gal footprint onto the laboratory-derived strain AAV2i8 yielded an enhanced AAV2i8G9 chimera. This new strain remains liver-detargeted like AAV2i8 while selectively transducing muscle tissues at high efficiency, comparable with AAV9. The AAV2i8G9 chimera is a promising vector candidate for targeted gene therapy of cardiac and musculoskeletal diseases. In addition to demonstrating the modularity of glycan receptor footprints on viral capsids, our approach provides design strategies to expand the AAV vector toolkit.
Shen, S; Horowitz, ED; Troupes, AN; Brown, SM; Pulicherla, N; Samulski, RJ; Agbandje-McKenna, M; Asokan, A
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