Author(s): Lu ZH, Kaliberov S, Zhang J, Muz B, Azab AK,
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Abstract Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) are ideal gene therapy targets as they provide widespread tissue access and are the first contact surfaces following intravenous vector administration. Human recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) is the most frequently used gene transfer system because of its appreciable transgene payload capacity and lack of somatic mutation risk. However, standard Ad5 vectors predominantly transduce liver but not the vasculature following intravenous administration. We recently developed an Ad5 vector with a myeloid cell-binding peptide (MBP) incorporated into the knob-deleted, T4 fibritin chimeric fiber (Ad.MBP). This vector was shown to transduce pulmonary ECs presumably via a vector handoff mechanism. Here we tested the body-wide tropism of the Ad.MBP vector, its myeloid cell necessity, and vector-EC expression dose response. Using comprehensive multi-organ co-immunofluorescence analysis, we discovered that Ad.MBP produced widespread EC transduction in the lung, heart, kidney, skeletal muscle, pancreas, small bowel, and brain. Surprisingly, Ad.MBP retained hepatocyte tropism albeit at a reduced frequency compared with the standard Ad5. While binding specifically to myeloid cells ex vivo, multi-organ Ad.MBP expression was not dependent on circulating monocytes or macrophages. Ad.MBP dose de-escalation maintained full lung-targeting capacity but drastically reduced transgene expression in other organs. Swapping the EC-specific ROBO4 for the CMV promoter/enhancer abrogated hepatocyte expression but also reduced gene expression in other organs. Collectively, our multilevel targeting strategy could enable therapeutic biological production in previously inaccessible organs that pertain to the most debilitating or lethal human diseases.
This article was published in Lab Invest
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy