ABSTRACT: A prominent goal in gene therapy research concerns the development of gene transfer vehicles that can integrate exogenous DNA at specific chromosomal loci to prevent insertional oncogenesis and provide for long-term transgene expression. Adenovirus (Ad) vectors arguably represent the most efficient delivery systems of episomal DNA into eukaryotic cell nuclei. The most advanced recombinant Ads lack all adenoviral genes. This renders these so-called high-capacity (hc) Ad vectors less cytotoxic/immunogenic than those only deleted in early regions and creates space for the insertion of large/multiple transgenes. The versatility of hcAd vectors is been increased by capsid modifications to alter their tropism and by the incorporation into their genomes of sequences promoting chromosomal insertion of exogenous DNA. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) can insert its genome into a specific human locus designated AAVS1. Trans- and cis-acting elements needed for this reaction are the AAV Rep78/68 proteins and Rep78/68-binding sequences, respectively. Here, we describe the generation, characterization and testing of fiber-modified dual hcAd/AAV hybrid vectors (dHVs) containing both these elements. Due to the inhibitory effects of Rep78/68 on Ad-dependent DNA replication, we deployed a recombinase-inducible gene switch to repress Rep68 synthesis during vector rescue and propagation. Flow cytometric analyses revealed that rep68-positive dHVs can be produced similarly well as rep68-negative control vectors. Western blot experiments and immunofluorescence microscopy analyses demonstrated transfer of recombinase-dependent rep68 genes into target cells. Studies in HeLa cells and in the dystrophin-deficient myoblasts from a Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patient showed that induction of Rep68 synthesis in cells transduced with fiber-modified and rep68-positive dHVs leads to increased stable transduction levels and AAVS1-targeted integration of vector DNA. These results warrant further investigation especially considering the paucity of vector systems allowing permanent phenotypic correction of patient-own cell types with large DNA (e.g. recombinant full-length DMD genes).
PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(8):e3084. · 4.09 Impact Factor