Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors containing Ad B-group fibers have become increasingly popular as gene transfer vectors because they efficiently transduce human cell types that are relatively refractory to Ad5 infection. So far, most B-group fiber-containing vectors have been first-generation vectors, deleted of E1 and/or E3 genes. Transduction with these vectors, however, results in viral gene expression and is associated with cytotoxicity and immune responses against transduced cells. To circumvent these problems, we developed fiber-chimeric Ad vectors devoid of all viral genes that were produced either by the homologous recombination of first-generation vectors or by using the Cre/lox-based helper virus system. In this study we compared early steps of infection between first-generation (35-kb genome) and Ad vectors devoid of all viral genes with genome sizes of 28 kb and 12.6 kb. All vectors possessed an Ad35-derived fiber knob domain, which uses CD46 as a primary attachment receptor. Using immortalized human hematopoietic cell lines and primary human CD34-positive hematopoietic cells, we found that the Ad genome size did not affect the efficiency of virus attachment to and internalization into cells. Furthermore, independently of the genome length and structure, all vectors migrated to the nucleus through late endosomal and lysosomal cellular compartments. However, the vector containing the short 12.6-kb genome was unable to efficiently escape from endosomes and deliver its DNA into the nucleus. Moreover, compared to other vectors, these Ad particles were less stable and had an abnormal capsid protein composition, including a lack of capsid-stabilizing protein IX. Our data indicate that the size and structure of the packaged viral genomes can affect the integrity of Ad particles, which in turn results in lower infectivity of Ad vectors.
Recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors have been studied extensively in preclinical gene therapy models and in a range of clinical trials. However, innate immune responses to adenovirus vectors limit effectiveness of Ad5 based therapies. Moreover, extensive pre-existing Ad5 immunity in human populations will likely limit the clinical utility of adenovirus vectors, unless methods to circumvent neutralizing antibodies that bind virus and block target cell transduction can be developed; Furthermore, memory T cell and humoral responses to Ad5 are associated with increased toxicity, raising safety concerns for therapeutic adenovirus vectors in immunized hosts. Most preclinical studies have been performed in naïve animals; although pre-existing immunity is among the greatest hurdles for adenovirus therapies, it is also one of the most neglected experimentally. Here we summarize findings using adenovirus vectors in naïve animals, in Ad-immunized animals and in clinical trials, and review strategies proposed to overcome innate immune responses and pre-existing immunity.
ADENOVIRUS; INNATE IMMUNITY; NEUTRALIZING ANTIBODY; GENE THERAPY; VACCINATION
Preclinical arterial gene transfer studies with adenoviral vectors are typically performed in laboratory animals that lack immunity to adenovirus. However, human patients are likely to have prior exposures to adenovirus that might affect: (a) the success of arterial gene transfer; (b) the duration of recombinant gene expression; and (c) the likelihood of a destructive immune response to transduced cells. We confirmed a high prevalence (57%) in adult humans of neutralizing antibodies to adenovirus type 5. We then used a rat model to establish a central role for the immune system in determining the success as well as the duration of recombinant gene expression after adenovirus-mediated gene transfer into isolated arterial segments. Vector-mediated recombinant gene expression, which was successful in naive rats and prolonged by immunosuppression, was unsuccessful in the presence of established immunity to adenovirus. 4 d of immunosuppressive therapy permitted arterial gene transfer and expression in immune rats, but at decreased levels. Ultraviolet-irradiated adenoviral vectors, which mimic advanced-generation vectors (reduced viral gene expression and relatively preserved capsid function), were less immunogenic than were nonirradiated vectors. A primary exposure to ultraviolet-irradiated (but not nonirradiated) vectors permitted expression of a recombinant gene after redelivery of the same vector. In conclusion, arterial gene transfer with current type 5 adenoviral vectors is unlikely to result in significant levels of gene expression in the majority of humans. Both immunosuppression and further engineering of the vector genome to decrease expression of viral genes show promise in circumventing barriers to adenovirus-mediated arterial gene transfer.
AIM: To generate recombinant adenoviral vector containing calreticulin (CRT)-hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) fusion gene for developing a safe, effective and HBsAg-specific therapeutic vaccine.
METHODS: CRT and HBsAg gene were fused using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), endonuclease digestion and ligation methods. The fusion gene was cloned into pENTR/D-TOPO transfer vector after the base pairs of DNA (CACC) sequence was added to the 5′ end. Adenoviral expression vector containing CRT-HBsAg fusion gene was constructed by homologous recombinantion. The human embryo kidney (HEK) 293A cells were transfected with linearized DNA plasmid of the recombinant adenoviral vector to package and amplify recombinant adenovirus. The recombinant adenovirus titer was characterized using the end-dilution assay. The expression of the CRT/HBsAg fusion protein in Ad-CRT/HBsAg infected 293A cells was detected by Western blotting.
RESULTS: The CRT-HBsAg fusion gene was characterized by PCR and sequencing and its length and sequence were confirmed to be accurate. The CRT-HBsAg fusion gene recombinant pENTR/D-TOPO transfer vector was constructed. The recombinant adenoviral vector, Ad-CRT/HBsAg, was generated successfully. The titer of Ad-CRT/HBsAg was characterized as 3.9 × 1011 pfu/mL. The CRT-HBsAg fusion protein was expressed by HEK 293A cells correctly.
CONCLUSION: CRT/HBsAg fusion gene recombinant replication-defective adenovirus expression vector is constructed successfully and this study has provided an experimental basis for further studies of Hepatitis B virus gene therapy.
Calreticulin; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis B surface antigen; Adenovirus expression vector; Fusion protein; Therapeutic vaccine
Nonhuman adenoviruses including bovine adenovirus serotype 3 (BAd3) and porcine adenovirus serotype 3 (PAd3) can circumvent pre-existing immunity against human adenovirus serotype 5 (HAd5) and are being developed as alternative vectors for gene delivery. To assess the usefulness of these vectors for in vivo gene delivery, we compared biodistribution, persistence, state of vector genome, and transgene and vector genes expression by replication-defective BAd3 and PAd3 vectors with those of HAd5 vector in a FVB/n mouse model following intravenous inoculation. BAd3 vector efficiently transduced the heart, kidney and lung in addition to the liver and spleen and persisted for a longer duration compared to PAd3 or HAd5 vectors. Biodistribution of PAd3 vector was comparable to that of HAd5 vector but showed more rapid vector clearance. Only linear episomal forms of BAd3, PAd3, and HAd5 vector genomes were detected. All three vectors efficiently expressed the green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgene proportionate to the vector genome copy number in various tissues. Furthermore, leaky expression of vector genes, both the early (E4) and the late (hexon) was observed in all three vectors and gradually declined with time. These results suggest that BAd3 and PAd3 vectors could serve as alternative or supplement to HAd5 for gene delivery applications.
Biodistribution; bovine adenovirus; gene therapy; nonhuman adenoviral vectors; porcine adenovirus
The high prevalence of preexisting immunity to adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) in human populations has led to the development of recombinant adenovirus (rAd) vectors derived from rare Ad serotypes as vaccine candidates for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 and other pathogens. Vaccine vectors have been constructed from Ad subgroup B, including rAd11 and rAd35, as well as from Ad subgroup D, including rAd49. However, the optimal combination of vectors for heterologous rAd prime-boost vaccine regimens and the extent of cross-reactive vector-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) remain poorly defined. We have shown previously that the closely related vectors rAd11 and rAd35 elicited low levels of cross-reactive NAbs. Here we show that these cross-reactive NAbs correlated with substantial sequence homology in the hexon hypervariable regions (HVRs) and suppressed the immunogenicity of heterologous rAd prime-boost regimens. In contrast, vectors with lower hexon HVR homology, such as rAd35 and rAd49, did not elicit detectable cross-reactive vector-specific NAbs. Consistent with these findings, rAd35-rAd49 vaccine regimens proved more immunogenic than both rAd35-rAd5 and rAd35-rAd11 regimens in mice with anti-Ad5 immunity. These data suggest that optimal heterologous rAd prime-boost regimens should include two vectors that are both rare in human populations to circumvent preexisting antivector immunity as well as sufficiently immunologically distinct to avoid cross-reactive antivector immunity.
Recombinant Adenovirus (Ad) based vectors have been utilized extensively as a gene transfer platform in multiple pre-clinical and clinical applications. These applications are numerous, and inclusive of both gene therapy and vaccine based approaches to human or animal diseases. The widespread utilization of these vectors in both animal models, as well as numerous human clinical trials (Ad-based vectors surpass all other gene transfer vectors relative to numbers of patients treated, as well as number of clinical trials overall), has shed light on how this virus vector interacts with both the innate and adaptive immune systems. The ability to generate and administer large amounts of this vector likely contributes not only to their ability to allow for highly efficient gene transfer, but also their elicitation of host immune responses to the vector and/or the transgene the vector expresses in vivo. These facts, coupled with utilization of several models that allow for full detection of these responses has predicted several observations made in human trials, an important point as lack of similar capabilities by other vector systems may prevent detection of such responses until only after human trials are initiated. Finally, induction of innate or adaptive immune responses by Ad vectors may be detrimental in one setting (i.e., gene therapy) and be entirely beneficial in another (i.e., prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine based applications). Herein, we review the current understanding of innate and adaptive immune responses to Ad vectors, as well some recent advances that attempt to capitalize on this understanding so as to further broaden the safe and efficient use of Ad-based gene transfer therapies in general.
adenovirus; innate immunity; adaptive immunity; cellular responses; humoral responses; vaccines
Adenovirus (Ad) vectors for gene therapy are made replication defective by deletion of E1 region genes. For isolation, propagation, and large-scale production of such vectors, E1 functions are supplied in trans from a stable cell line. Virtually all Ad vectors used for clinical studies are produced in the 293 cell, a human embryonic kidney cell line expressing E1 functions from an integrated segment of the left end of the Ad type 5 (Ad5) genome. Replication-competent vector variants that have regained E1 sequences have been observed within populations of Ad vectors grown on 293 cells. These replication-competent variants presumably result from recombination between vector and 293 cell Ad5 sequences. We have developed Ad2-based vectors and have characterized at the molecular level examples of replication-competent variants. All such variants analyzed are Ad2-Ad5 chimeras in which the 293 cell Ad5 E1 sequences have become incorporated into the viral genome by legitimate recombination events. A map of Ad5 sequences within the 293 cell genome developed in parallel is consistent with the proposed recombination events. To provide a convenient vector production system that circumvents the generation of replication-competent variants, we have modified the Ad2 vector backbone by deleting or rearranging the protein IX coding region normally present downstream from the E1 region such that the frequency of recombination between vector and 293 cell Ad5 sequences is greatly reduced. Twelve serial passages of an Ad2 vector lacking the protein IX gene were carried out without generating replication-competent variants. In the course of producing and testing more than 30 large-scale preparations of vectors lacking the protein IX gene or having a rearranged protein IX gene, only three examples of replication-competent variants were observed. Use of these genome modifications allows use of conventional 293 cells for production of large-scale preparations of Ad-based vectors lacking replication-competent variants.
Preclinical studies have shown that gene transfer following readministration of viral vectors is often inefficient due to the presence of neutralizing antibodies. Vectors derived from ubiquitous human adenoviruses may have limited clinical use because preexisting humoral and cellular immunity is found in 90% of the population. Furthermore, risks associated with the use of human adenovirus vectors, such as the need to immunosuppress or tolerize patients to a potentially debilitating virus, are avoidable if efficient nonhuman adenovirus vectors are feasible. Plasmids containing recombinant canine adenovirus (CAV) vectors from which the E1 region had been deleted were generated and transfected into a CAV E1-transcomplementing cell line. Vector stocks, with titers greater than or equal to those obtained with human adenovirus vectors, were free of detectable levels of replication-competent CAV and had a low particle-to-transduction unit ratio. CAV vectors were replication defective in all cell lines tested, transduced human-derived cells at an efficiency similar to that of a comparable human adenovirus type 5 vector, and are amenable to in vivo use. Importantly, 49 of 50 serum samples from healthy individuals did not contain detectable levels of neutralizing CAV antibodies.
Replication-defective adenovirus vectors, primarily developed from serotype 5 (Ad5) viruses, have been widely used for gene transfer and vaccination approaches. Vectors based on other serotypes of adenovirus could be used in conjunction with, or in place of, Ad5 vectors. In this study, Ad41, an enteric adenovirus usually described as ‘non-cultivable’ or ‘fastidious,’ has been successfully cloned, rescued and propagated on 293-ORF6 cells. The complementation capabilities of this cell line allow generation of Ad41 vectors at titers comparable to those obtained for Ad5 vectors. Mice immunized with an Ad41 vector containing an HIV envelope (Env) gene mounted anti-Env cellular and humoral immune responses. Ad41-Env vectors appear to be particularly attractive when used in heterologous prime-boost regimens, where they induce significantly higher cellular immune responses to HIV-Env than Ad5-based regimens. Ad41-based constructs are attractive vaccine vectors alone or in combination with Ad5 adenovectors, since each vector type can provide circumvention of pre-existing immunity to the other.
Adenovirus; Vaccine vector; Human Immunodeficiency Virus
While adenovirus (Ad) gene delivery vectors are useful in many gene therapy applications, their broad tropism means that they cannot be directed to a specific target cell. There are also a number of cell types involved in human disease which are not transducible with standard Ad vectors, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B lymphocytes. Adenovirus binds to host cells via the viral fiber protein, and Ad vectors have previously been retargeted by modifying the fiber gene on the viral chromosome. This requires that the modified fiber be able to bind to the cell in which the vector is grown, which prevents truly specific vector targeting. We previously reported a gene delivery system based on a fiber gene-deleted Ad type 5 (Ad5) vector (Ad5.βgal.ΔF) and packaging cells that express the viral fiber protein. Expression of different fibers in packaging cells will allow Ad retargeting without modifying the viral chromosome. Importantly, fiber proteins which can no longer bind to the producer cells can also be used. Using this approach, we generated for the first time pseudotyped Ad5.βgal.ΔF particles containing either the wild-type Ad5 fiber protein or a chimeric fiber with the receptor-binding knob domain of the Ad3 fiber. Particles equipped with the chimeric fiber bound to the Ad3 receptor rather than the coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor protein used by Ad5. EBV-transformed B lymphocytes were infected efficiently by the Ad3-pseudotyped particles but poorly by virus containing the Ad5 fiber protein. The strategy described here represents a broadly applicable method for targeting gene delivery to specific cell types.
The development of an effective malaria vaccine is a high global health priority. Vaccine vectors based on adenovirus type 5 are capable of generating robust and protective T cell and antibody responses in animal models and are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for HIV and malaria. They appear to be more effective in terms of inducing antigen-specific immune responses as compared with non-Ad5 serotype vectors. However, the high prevalence of neutralizing antibodies to Ad5 in the human population, particularly in the developing world, has the potential to limit the effectiveness of Ad5-based vaccines. We have generated novel Ad5-based vectors that precisely replace the hexon hypervariable regions with those derived from Ad43, a subgroup D serotype with low prevalence of neutralizing antibody in humans. We have demonstrated that these hexon-modified adenovectors are not neutralized efficiently by Ad5 neutralizing antibodies in vitro using sera from mice, rabbits and human volunteers. We have also generated hexon-modified adenovectors that express a rodent malaria parasite antigen, PyCSP, and demonstrated that they are as immunogenic as an unmodified vector. Furthermore, in contrast to the unmodified vector, the hexon-modified adenovectors induced robust T cell responses in mice with high levels of Ad5 neutralizing antibody. We also show that the hexon-modified vector can be combined with unmodified Ad5 vector in prime-boost regimens to induce protective responses in mice. Our data establish that these hexon-modified vectors are highly immunogenic even in the presence of pre-existing anti-adenovirus antibodies. These hexon-modified adenovectors may have advantages in sub-Saharan Africa where there is a high prevalence of Ad5 neutralizing antibody in the population.
Antipathogen immune responses create a balance between immunity, tolerance, and immune evasion. However, during gene therapy most viral vectors are delivered in substantial doses and are incapable of expressing gene products that reduce the host's ability to detect transduced cells. Gene transfer efficacy is also modified by the in vivo transduction of dendritic cells (DC), which notably increases the immunogenicity of virions and vector-encoded genes. In this study, we evaluated parameters that are relevant to the use of canine adenovirus serotype 2 (CAV-2) vectors in the clinical setting by assaying their effect on human monocyte-derived DC (hMoDC). We compared CAV-2 to human adenovirus (HAd) vectors containing the wild-type virion, functional deletions in the penton base RGD motif, and the CAV-2 fiber knob. In contrast to the HAd type 5 (HAd5)-based vectors, CAV-2 poorly transduced hMoDC, provoked minimal upregulation of major histocompatibility complex class I/II and costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80, and CD86), and induced negligible morphological changes indicative of DC maturation. Functional maturation assay results (e.g., reduced antigen uptake; tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1β [IL-1β], gamma interferon [IFN-γ], IL-10, IL-12, and IFN-α/β secretion; and stimulation of heterologous T-cell proliferation) were also significantly lower for CAV-2. Our data suggested that this was due, in part, to the use of an alternative receptor and a block in vesicular escape. Additionally, HAd5 vector-induced hMoDC maturation was independent of the aforementioned cytokines. Paradoxically, an HAd5/CAV-2 hybrid vector induced the greatest phenotypical and functional maturation of hMoDC. Our data suggest that CAV-2 and the HAd5/CAV-2 vector may be the antithesis of Adenoviridae immunogenicity and that each may have specific clinical advantages.
Live recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSVs) expressing foreign antigens are highly effective vaccine vectors. However, these vectors induce high-titer neutralizing antibody directed at the single VSV glycoprotein (G), and this antibody alone can prevent reinfection and boosting with the same vector. To determine if efficient boosting could be achieved by changing the G protein of the vector, we have developed two new recombinant VSV vectors based on the VSV Indiana serotype but with the G protein gene replaced with G genes from two other VSV serotypes, New Jersey and Chandipura. These G protein exchange vectors grew to titers equivalent to wild-type VSV and induced similar neutralizing titers to themselves but no cross-neutralizing antibodies to the other two serotypes. The effectiveness of these recombinant VSV vectors was illustrated in experiments in which sequential boosting of mice with the three vectors, all encoding the same primary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) envelope protein, gave a fourfold increase in antibody titer to an oligomeric HIV envelope compared with the response in animals receiving the same vector three times. In addition, only the animals boosted with the exchange vectors produced antibodies neutralizing the autologous HIV primary isolate. These VSV envelope exchange vectors have potential as vaccines in immunizations when boosting of immune responses may be essential.
To expand the utility of recombinant adenovirus vectors for gene therapy applications, methods to alter native viral tropism to achieve cell-specific transduction would be beneficial. To this end, we are pursuing genetic methods to alter the cell recognition domain of the adenovirus fiber. To incorporate these modified fibers into mature virions, we have developed a method based on homologous DNA recombination between two plasmids. A fiber-deleted, propagation-defective rescue plasmid has been designed for recombination with a shuttle plasmid encoding a variant fiber gene. Recombination between the two plasmids results in the derivation of recombinant viruses containing the variant fiber gene. To establish the utility of this method, we constructed a recombinant adenovirus containing a fiber gene with a silent mutation. In addition, we generated an adenovirus vector containing chimeric fibers composed of the tail and shaft domains of adenovirus serotype 5 and the knob domain of serotype 3. This modification was shown to alter the receptor recognition profile of the virus containing the fiber chimera. Thus, this two-plasmid system allows for the generation of adenovirus vectors containing variant fibers. This method provides a rapid and facile means of generating fiber-modified recombinant adenoviruses. In addition, it should be possible to use this system in the development of adenovirus vectors with modified tropism to allow cell-specific targeting.
The successful use of any adenoviral vectors is predicated upon the use of a serotype that is not neutralized by circulating antibodies. However, efforts to develop a diverse repertoire of serologically distinct adenovirus vectors may be hindered by the necessity to generate cell lines to allow for the successful propagation of vectors deleted of essential genes. A strategy to construct chimeric adenoviruses whereby the rescue and propagation of an E1 deleted HAdV-B – derived adenoviral vector can be achieved using existing cell lines such as HEK 293 is reported. It is further shown that this strategy may be more widely applicable.
Adenovirus; Adenovirus serotypes; adenovirus vector
Recombinant adenovirus vectors represent an efficient means of transferring genes into many different organs. The first-generation E1-deleted vector genome remains episomal and, in the absence of host immunity, persists long-term in quiescent tissues such as the liver. The mechanism(s) which allows for persistence has not been established; however, vector DNA replication may be important because replication has been shown to occur in tissue culture systems. We have utilized a site-specific methylation strategy to monitor the replicative fate of E1-deleted adenovirus vectors in vitro and in vivo. Methylation-marked adenovirus vectors were produced by the addition of a methyl group onto the N6 position of the adenine base of XhoI sites, CTCGAG, by propagation of vectors in 293 cells expressing the XhoI isoschizomer PaeR7 methyltransferase. The methylation did not affect vector production or transgene expression but did prevent cleavage by XhoI. Loss of methylation through viral replication restores XhoI cleavage and was observed by Southern analysis in a wide variety of, but not all, cell culture systems studied, including hepatoma and mouse and macaque primary hepatocyte cultures. In contrast, following liver-directed gene transfer of methylated vector in C57BL/6 mice, adenovirus vector DNA was not cleaved by XhoI and therefore did not replicate, even after a period of 3 weeks. Although replication may occur in some tissues, these results show that stabilization of the vector within the target tissue prior to clearance by host immunity is not dependent upon replication of the vector, demonstrating that the input transduced DNA genomes were the persistent molecules. This information will be useful for the design of optimal adenovirus vectors and perhaps nonviral episomal vectors for clinical gene therapy.
Adenovirus (Ad)-based vectors have great potential for use in the gene therapy of multiple diseases, both genetic and nongenetic. While capable of transducing both dividing and quiescent cells efficiently, Ad vectors have been limited by a number of problems. Most Ad vectors are engineered such that a transgene replaces the Ad E1a, E1b, and E3 genes; subsequently the replication-defective vector can be propagated only in human 293 cells that supply the deleted E1 gene functions in trans. Unfortunately, the use of high titers of E1-deleted vectors has been repeatedly demonstrated to result in low-level expression of viral genes still resident in the vector. In addition, the generation of replication-competent Ad (RCA) by recombination events with the E1 sequences residing in 293 cells further limits the usefulness of E1-deleted Ad vectors. We addressed these problems by isolating new Ad vectors deleted for the E1, E3, and the E2b gene functions. The new vectors can be readily grown to high titers and have several improvements, including an increased carrying capacity and a theoretically decreased risk for generating RCA. We have also demonstrated that the further block to Ad vector replication afforded by the deletion of both the E1 and E2b genes significantly diminished Ad late gene expression in comparison to a conventional E1-deleted vector, without destabilization of the modified vector genome. The results suggested that these modified vectors may be very useful both for in vitro and in vivo gene therapy applications.
A major hurdle to the successful clinical use of some viral vectors relates to the innate, adaptive, and memory immune responses that limit the efficiency and duration of transgene expression. Some of these drawbacks may be circumvented by using vectors derived from nonhuman viruses such as canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2). Here, we evaluated the potential of CAV-2 vectors for gene transfer to the respiratory tract. We found that CAV-2 transduction was efficient in vivo in the mouse respiratory tract, and ex vivo in well-differentiated human pulmonary epithelia. Notably, the in vivo and ex vivo efficiency was poorly inhibited by sera from mice immunized with a human adenovirus type 5 (HAd5, a ubiquitous human pathogen) vector or by human sera containing HAd5 neutralizing antibodies. Following intranasal instillation in mice, CAV-2 vectors also led to a lower level of inflammatory cytokine secretion and cellular infiltration compared to HAd5 vectors. Moreover, CAV-2 transduction efficiency was increased in vitro in human pulmonary cells and in vivo in the mouse respiratory tract by FK228, a histone deacetylase inhibitor. Finally, by using a helper-dependent CAV-2 vector, we increased the in vivo duration of transgene expression to at least 3 months in immunocompetent mice without immunosuppression. Our data suggest that CAV-2 vectors may be efficient and safe tools for long-term clinical gene transfer to the respiratory tract.
Recombinant serotype 5 adenovirus (Ad5) vectors lacking E1 expression induce robust immune responses against encoded transgenes in preclinical models, but have muted responses in human trials due to wide spread pre-existing anti-adenovirus immunity. Attempts to circumvent Ad5 specific immunity by using alternative serotypes or modifying capsid components have not yielded profound clinical improvement. To address this issue, we explored a novel alternative strategy, specifically reducing the expression of structural Ad5 genes by creating E1 and E2b deleted recombinant Ad5 vectors. Our data demonstrate that [E1−, E2b−]vectors retaining the Ad5 serotype are potent immunogens in pre-clinical models despite the presence of significant Ad5 specific immunity, in contrast to [E1−] vectors. These preclinical studies with E1 and E2b deleted recombinant Ad5 vectors suggest that anti-Ad immunity will no longer be a limiting factor and that clinical trials to evaluate their performance are warranted.
Adenovirus; Ad5 vectors; immunotherapy
Replication-deficient recombinant adenoviral vectors based on human serotype 35 (Ad35) are desirable due to the relatively low prevalence of neutralizing antibodies in the human population. The structure of the viral genome and life cycle of Ad35 differs from the better characterized Ad5 and these differences require differences in the strategies for the generation of vectors for gene delivery.
Sequences essential for E1 and E4 function were identified and removed and the effects of the deletions on viral gene transcription were determined. In addition, the non-essential E3 region was deleted from rAd35 vectors and a sequence was found that did not have an effect on viability but reduced viral fitness. The packaging capacity of rAd35 was dependent on pIX and vectors were generated with stable genome sizes of up to 104% of the wild type genome size. These data were used to make an E1-, E3-, E4-deleted rAd35 vector. This rAd35 vector with multiple gene deletions has the advantages of multiple blocks to viral replication (i.e., E1 and E4 deletions) and a transgene packaging capacity of 7.6 Kb, comparable to rAd5 vectors.
The results reported here allow the generation of larger capacity rAd35 vectors and will guide the derivation of adenovirus vectors from other serotypes.
We have developed a new class of adenovirus vectors that selectively replicate in tumor cells. The vector design is based on our recent observation that a variety of human tumor cell lines support DNA replication of adenovirus vectors with deletions of the E1A and E1B genes, whereas primary human cells or mouse liver cells in vivo do not. On the basis of this tumor-selective replication, we developed an adenovirus system that utilizes homologous recombination between inverted repeats to mediate precise rearrangements within the viral genome resulting in replication-dependent activation of transgene expression in tumors (Ad.IR vectors). Here, we used this system to achieve tumor-specific expression of adenoviral wild-type E1A in order to enhance viral DNA replication and spread within tumor metastases. In vitro DNA replication and cytotoxicity studies demonstrated that the mechanism of E1A-enhanced replication of Ad.IR-E1A vectors is efficiently and specifically activated in tumor cells, but not in nontransformed human cells. Systemic application of the Ad.IR-E1A vector into animals with liver metastases achieved transgene expression exclusively in tumors. The number of transgene-expressing tumor cells within metastases increased over time, indicating viral spread. Furthermore, the Ad.IR-E1A vector demonstrated antitumor efficacy in subcutaneous and metastatic models. These new Ad.IR-E1A vectors combine elements that allow for tumor-specific transgene expression, efficient viral replication, and spread in liver metastases after systemic vector application.
To achieve stable gene transfer into human hematopoietic cells, we constructed a new vector, ΔAd5/35.AAV. This vector has a chimeric capsid containing adenovirus type 35 fibers, which conferred efficient infection of human hematopoietic cells. The ΔAd5/35.AAV vector genome is deleted for all viral genes, allowing for infection without virus-associated toxicity. To generate high-capacity ΔAd5/35.AAV vectors, we employed a new technique based on recombination between two first-generation adenovirus vectors. The resultant vector genome contained an 11.6-kb expression cassette including the human γ-globin gene and the HS2 and HS3 elements of the β-globin locus control region. The expression cassette was flanked by adeno-associated virus (AAV) inverted terminal repeats (ITRs). Infection with ΔAd5/35.AAV allowed for stable transgene expression in a hematopoietic cell line after integration into the host genome through the AAV ITR(s). This new vector exhibits advantages over existing integrating vectors, including an increased insert capacity and tropism for hematopoietic cells. It has the potential for stable ex vivo transduction of hematopoietic stem cells in order to treat sickle cell disease.
Adenovirus has been extensively exploited as a vector platform for delivering vaccines. However, preexisting antiadenovirus immunity is the major stumbling block for application of adenovirus-vectored vaccines. In this study, we found that freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), mostly CD14+ cells, from adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5)-seropositive primates (humans and rhesus macaques) can be efficiently infected with Ad5 in vitro. On the basis of this observation, a novel strategy based on adenoviral vector-infected PBMC (AVIP) immunization was explored to circumvent antivector immunity. Autologous infusion of Ad5-SIVgag-infected PBMCs elicited a strong Gag-specific cellular immune response but induced weaker Ad5-neutralizing antibody (NAb) in Ad5-seronegative macaques than in macaques intramuscularly injected with Ad5-SIVgag. Moreover, Ad5-seropositive macaques receiving multiple AVIP immunizations with Ad5-SIVenv, Ad5-SIVgag, and Ad5-SIVpol vaccines elicited escalated Env-, Gag-, and Pol-specific immune responses after each immunization that were significantly greater than those in macaques intramuscularly injected with these Ad5-SIV vaccines. After challenged intravenously with a highly pathogenic SIVmac239 virus, macaques receiving AVIP immunization demonstrated a significant reduction in viral load at both the peak time and set-point period compared with macaques without Ad5-SIV vaccines. Our study warranted further research and development of the AVIP immunization as a platform for repeated applications of adenovirus-vectored vaccines.
Although the papillomavirus structural proteins, L1 and L2, can spontaneously coassemble to form virus-like particles, currently available methods for production of L1/L2 particles capable of transducing reporter plasmids into mammalian cells are technically demanding and relatively low-yield. In this report, we describe a simple 293 cell transfection method for efficient intracellular production of papillomaviral-based gene transfer vectors carrying reporter plasmids. Using bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV1) and human papillomavirus type 16 as model papillomaviruses, we have developed a system for producing papillomaviral vector stocks with titers of several billion transducing units per milliliter. Production of these vectors requires both L1 and L2, and transduction can be prevented by papillomavirus-neutralizing antibodies. The stocks can be purified by an iodixanol (OptiPrep) gradient centrifugation procedure that is substantially more effective than standard cesium chloride gradient purification. Although earlier data had suggested a potential role for the viral early protein E2, we found that E2 protein expression did not enhance the intracellular production of BPV1 vectors. It was also possible to encapsidate reporter plasmids devoid of BPV1 DNA sequences. BPV1 vector production efficiency was significantly influenced by the size of the target plasmid being packaged. Use of 6-kb target plasmids resulted in BPV1 vector yields that were higher than those with target plasmids closer to the native 7.9-kb size of papillomavirus genomes. The results suggest that the intracellular assembly of papillomavirus structural proteins around heterologous reporter plasmids is surprisingly promiscuous and may be driven primarily by a size discrimination mechanism.