The TLR9-MyD88 pathway is critical for adaptive immune responses to adeno-associated virus gene therapy vectors in mice.
Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have been used widely for in vivo gene therapy. However, adaptive immune responses to AAV have posed a significant hurdle in clinical application of AAV vectors. Recent advances have suggested a crucial role for innate immunity in shaping adaptive immune responses. How AAV activates innate immunity, and thereby promotes AAV-targeted adaptive immune responses, remains unknown. Here we show that AAV activates mouse plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) via TLR9 to produce type I IFNs. In vivo, the TLR9-MyD88 pathway was crucial to the activation of CD8+ T cell responses to both the transgene product and the AAV capsid, leading to loss of transgene expression and the generation of transgene product-specific and AAV-neutralizing antibodies. We further demonstrate that TLR9-dependent activation of adaptive immunity targeting AAV was mediated by type I IFNs and that human pDCs could be activated in vitro to induce type I IFN production via TLR9. These results reveal an essential role for the TLR9-MyD88-type I IFN pathway in induction of adaptive immune responses to AAV and suggest that strategies that interfere with this pathway may improve the outcome of AAV-mediated gene therapy in humans.
Zhu, J; Huang, X; Yang, Y
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