Glycan binding avidity determines the systemic fate of adeno-associated virus type 9.
Glycans are key determinants of host range and transmissibility in several pathogens. In the case of adeno-associated viruses (AAV), different carbohydrates serve as cellular receptors in vitro; however, their contributions in vivo are less clear. A particularly interesting example is adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9), which displays systemic tropism in mice despite low endogenous levels of its primary receptor (galactose) in murine tissues. To understand this further, we studied the effect of modulating glycan binding avidity on the systemic fate of AAV9 in mice. Intravenous administration of recombinant sialidase increased tissue levels of terminally galactosylated glycans in several murine tissues. These conditions altered the systemic tropism of AAV9 into a hepatotropic phenotype, characterized by markedly increased sequestration within the liver sinusoidal endothelium and Kupffer cells. In contrast, an AAV9 mutant with decreased glycan binding avidity displayed a liver-detargeted phenotype. Altering glycan binding avidity also profoundly affected AAV9 persistence in blood circulation. Our results support the notion that high glycan receptor binding avidity appears to impart increased liver tropism, while decreased avidity favors systemic spread of AAV vectors. These findings may not only help predict species-specific differences in tropism for AAV9 on the basis of tissue glycosylation profiles, but also provide a general approach to tailor AAV vectors for systemic or hepatic gene transfer by reengineering capsid-glycan interactions.
Shen, S; Bryant, KD; Sun, J; Brown, SM; Troupes, A; Pulicherla, N; Asokan, A
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