The conventional methods for producing recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) rely on transient transfection of adherent mammalian cells. To gain acceptance and achieve current good manufacturing process (cGMP) compliance, clinical grade rAAV production process should have the following qualities: simplicity, consistency, cost effectiveness, and scalability. Currently, the only viable method for producing rAAV in large-scale, e.g.≥1016 particles per production run, utilizes Baculovirus Expression Vectors (BEVs) and insect cells suspension cultures. The previously described rAAV production in 40 L culture using a stirred tank bioreactor requires special conditions for implementation and operation not available in all laboratories. Alternatives to producing rAAV in stirred-tank bioreactors are single-use, disposable bioreactors, e.g. Wave™. The disposable bags are purchased pre-sterilized thereby eliminating the need for end-user sterilization and also avoiding cleaning steps between production runs thus facilitating the production process. In this study, rAAV production in stirred tank and Wave™ bioreactors was compared. The working volumes were 10 L and 40 L for the stirred tank bioreactors and 5 L and 20 L for the Wave™ bioreactors. Comparable yields of rAAV, ~2e+13 particles per liter of cell culture were obtained in all volumes and configurations. These results demonstrate that producing rAAV in large scale using BEVs is reproducible, scalable, and independent of the bioreactor configuration. Keywords: adeno-associated vectors; large-scale production; stirred tank bioreactor; wave bioreactor; gene therapy.
The large amounts of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector needed for clinical trials and eventual commercialization require robust, economical, reproducible, and scalable production processes compatible with current good manufacturing practice. rAAV produced using baculovirus and insect cells satisfies these conditions; however, recovering rAAV particles from 200-liter bioreactors is more complicated than bench-scale vector preparations. Using a variety of processing media, we developed a reliable and routine downstream procedure for rAAV production that is scalable from 0.02- to 200-liter cultures. To facilitate the upstream process, we adapted the titerless infected-cell preservation and scale-up process for rAAV production. Single-use aliquots of cryopreserved baculovirus-infected insect cells (BIIC) are thawed and added to the suspension culture to achieve the desired ratio of BIIC to rAAV-producer cells. By using conditions established with small-scale cultures, rAAV was produced in larger volume cultures. Strikingly consistent rAAV yields were attained in cultures ranging from 10 liters to 200 liters. Based on the final yield, each cell produced 18,000 ± 6,800 particles of purified rAAV in 10-, 20-, 100-, and 200-liter cultures. Thus, with an average cell density of 4.32 × 106 cells/ml, ≥1016 purified rAAV particles are produced from 100 to 200 liters. The downstream process resulted in about 20% recovery estimated from comparing the quantities of capsid protein antigen in the crude bioreactor material and in the final, purified product. The ease and reproducibility of rAAV production in 200-liter bioreactors suggest that the limit has not been reached, and 500-liter productions are planned.
Production of recombinant AAV in Sf9 insect cells infected with baculovirus is an established, economical, and scalable process. However, under serum-free clinical manufacturing conditions, cryopreserved baculovirus loses its ability to infect new batches of producer cells over time. This study by Cecchini and colleagues reports that cryopreserving insect cells infected with baculovirus provides a viable alternative for obtaining consistent levels of rAAV from any size culture.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors have many advantages for gene therapeutic applications compared with other vector systems. Several methods that use plasmids or helper viruses have been reported for the generation of rAAV vectors. Unfortunately, the preparation of large-scale rAAV stocks is labor-intensive. Moreover, the biological titration of rAAV is still difficult, which may limit its preclinical and clinical applications. For this study, we developed a novel strategy to generate and biologically titrate rAAV vectors. A recombinant pseudorabies virus (PrV) with defects in its gD, gE, and thymidine kinase genes was engineered to express the AAV rep and cap genes, yielding PS virus, which served as a packaging and helper virus for the generation of rAAV vectors. PS virus was useful not only for generating high-titer rAAV vectors by cotransfection with an rAAV vector plasmid, but also for amplifying rAAV stocks. Notably, the biological titration of rAAV vectors was also feasible when cells were coinfected with rAAV and PS virus. Based on this strategy, we produced an rAAV that expresses prothymosin α (ProT). Expression of the ProT protein in vitro and in vivo mediated by rAAV/ProT gene transfer was detected by immunohistochemistry and a bioassay. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the PrV vector-based system is useful for generating rAAV vectors carrying various transgenes.
Since recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) was first described as a potential mammalian cell transducing system, frequent reports purportedly solving the problems of scalable production have appeared. Yet few of these processes have enabled the development of robust and economical rAAV production. Two production platforms have emerged that have gained broad support for producing both research and clinical grade vectors. These processes differ fundamentally in several aspects. One approach is based on adherent mammalian cells and uses optimized chemical transient transfection for introducing the essential genetic components into the cells. The other approach utilizes suspension cultures of invertebrate cells. Baculovirus expression vectors are used for introducing the AAV genes into the cells. In addition, the baculovirus provides the helper functions necessary for efficient AAV DNA replication. The use of suspension cell culture provides an intrinsically more scalable platform system than using adherent cells. The upstream processes for suspension cultures are amenable for automation and are easily monitored and regulated to maintain optimum conditions that produce consistent yields of rAAV. Issues relating to developing new and improving existing rAAV production methods are discussed.
The development of a convenient high-throughput gene transduction approach is critical for biological screening. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are broadly used in gene therapy studies, yet their applications in in vitro high-throughput gene transduction are limited.
We established an AAV reverse infection (RI)-based method in which cells were transduced by quantified recombinant AAVs (rAAVs) pre-coated onto 96-well plates. The number of pre-coated rAAV particles and number of cells loaded per well, as well as the temperature stability of the rAAVs on the plates, were evaluated. As the first application of this method, six serotypes or hybrid serotypes of rAAVs (AAV1, AAV2, AAV5/5, AAV8, AAV25 m, AAV28 m) were compared for their transduction efficiencies using various cell lines, including BHK21, HEK293, BEAS-2BS, HeLaS3, Huh7, Hepa1-6, and A549. AAV2 and AAV1 displayed high transduction efficiency; thus, they were deemed to be suitable candidate vectors for the RI-based array. We next evaluated the impact of sodium butyrate (NaB) treatment on rAAV vector-mediated reporter gene expression and found it was significantly enhanced, suggesting that our system reflected the biological response of target cells to specific treatments.
Our study provides a novel method for establishing a highly efficient gene transduction array that may be developed into a platform for cell biological assays.
The initial discovery of adeno-associated virus (AAV) mixed with adenovirus particles was not a fortuitous one but rather an expression of AAV biology. Indeed, as it came to be known, in addition to the unavoidable host cell, AAV typically needs a so-called helper virus such as adenovirus to replicate. Since the AAV life cycle revolves around another unrelated virus it was dubbed a satellite virus. However, the structural simplicity plus the defective and non-pathogenic character of this satellite virus caused recombinant forms to acquire centre-stage prominence in the current constellation of vectors for human gene therapy. In the present review, issues related to the development of recombinant AAV (rAAV) vectors, from the general principle to production methods, tropism modifications and other emerging technologies are discussed. In addition, the accumulating knowledge regarding the mechanisms of rAAV genome transduction and persistence is reviewed. The topics on rAAV vectorology are supplemented with information on the parental virus biology with an emphasis on aspects that directly impact on vector design and performance such as genome replication, genetic structure, and host cell entry.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) holds promise as a gene therapy vector for a multitude of genetic disorders such as hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and the muscular dystrophies. Given the variety of applications and tissue types toward which these vectors may be targeted, an understanding of rAAV transduction is crucial for the effective application of therapy. rAAV transduction mechanisms have been the subject of much study, resulting in a body of knowledge relating to events from virus-cell attachment through to vector genome conformation in the target cell nucleus. Instead of utilizing one mechanism in each phase of vector transduction, rAAV appears to employ multiple possible pathways toward transgene expression, in part dependent on rAAV serotype, dose, and target cell type. Once inside the nucleus, the rAAV genome exists in a predominantly episomal form; therefore, nondividing cells tend to be most stably transduced. However, rAAV has a low frequency of integration into the host cell genome, often in or near genes, and can be associated with host genome mutations. This review describes the current understanding of the mechanisms and rate-limiting steps involved in rAAV transduction.
Establishing pharmacological parameters, such as efficacy, routes of administration, and toxicity, for recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors is a prerequisite for gaining acceptance for clinical applications. In fact, even a therapeutic window, that is, the dose range between therapeutic efficacy and toxicity, has yet to be determined for rAAV in vivo. Multiphase clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of recombinant AAV-based therapeutics will require unprecedented vector production capacity to meet the needs of preclinical toxicology studies, and the progressive clinical protocol phases of safety/dose escalation (phase I), efficacy (phase II), and high-enrollment, multicenter evaluations (phase III). Methods of rAAV production capable of supporting such trials must be scalable, robust, and efficient. We have taken advantage of the ease of scalability of nonadherent cell culture techniques coupled with the inherent efficiency of viral infection to develop an rAAV production method based on recombinant baculovirus-mediated expression of AAV components in insect-derived suspension cells.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors were used in human trials as carriers of vaccines for HIV-1 after encouraging preclinical results. However, the clinical trials yielded disappointing results. Here we demonstrated that in mice, rAAV vectors expressing the gene encoding HIV-1 gag stimulated gag-specific CD8+ T cells, but these T cells failed to expand after a booster immunization with a replication-defective adenoviral (Ad) vector also expressing gag. We tested rAAV vectors of different serotypes expressing HIV-1 gag for induction of transgene product–specific CD8+ T cells and found that the immunoinhibitory effect of rAAV priming observed with different AAV serotypes was transgene product specific, was independent of the interval between prime and boost, and extended to boosts with vaccine modalities other than Ad vectors. rAAV vector–induced CD8+ T cells proliferated poorly, produced low levels of IFN-γ in response to gag stimulation, and upregulated immunoinhibitory molecules. These T cells did not protect efficiently against challenge with a surrogate pathogen. Finally, we showed that the impaired proliferative capacity of the T cells was caused by persistence of the antigen-encoding rAAV vectors and could be reversed by placing the CD8+ T cells in an antigen-free environment. Our data suggest that rAAV vectors induce functionally impaired T cells and could dampen the immune response to a natural infection.
We established a method for production of recombinant adeno-associated virus type 5 (rAAV5) in insect cells by use of baculovirus expression vectors. One baculovirus harbors a transgene between the inverted terminal repeat sequences of type 5, and the second expresses Rep78 and Rep52. Interestingly, the replacement of type 5 Rep52 with type 1 Rep52 generated four times more rAAV5 particles. We replaced the N-terminal portion of type 5 VP1 with the equivalent portion of type 2 to generate infectious AAV5 particles. The rAAV5 with the modified VP1 required α2-3 sialic acid for transduction, as revealed by a competition experiment with an analog of α2-3 sialic acid. rAAV5-GFP/Neo with a 4.4-kb vector genome produced in HEK293 cells or Sf9 cells transduced COS cells with similar efficiencies. Surprisingly, Sf9-produced humanized Renilla green fluorescent protein (hGFP) vector with a 2.4-kb vector genome induced stronger GFP expression than the 293-produced one. Transduction of murine skeletal muscles with Sf9-generated rAAV5 with a 3.4-kb vector genome carrying a human secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) expression cassette induced levels of SEAP more than 30 times higher than those for 293-produced vector 1 week after injection. Analysis of virion DNA revealed that in addition to a 2.4- or 3.4-kb single-stranded vector genome, Sf9-rAAV5 had more-abundant forms of approximately 4.7 kb, which appeared to correspond to the monomer duplex form of hGFP vector or truncated monomer duplex SEAP vector DNA. These results indicated that rAAV5 can be generated in insect cells, although the difference in incorporated virion DNA may induce different expression patterns of the transgene.
The ability of recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors to exhibit minimal immunogenicity and little to no toxicity or inflammation while eliciting robust, multiyear gene expression in vivo are only a few of the salient features that make them ideally suited for many gene therapy applications. A major hurdle for the use of rAAV in sizeable research and clinical applications is the lack of efficient and versatile large-scale production systems. Continued progression toward flexible, scalable production techniques is a prerequisite to support human clinical evaluation of these novel biotherapeutics. This review examines the current state of large-scale production methods that employ the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV) platform to produce rAAV vectors for gene delivery. Improvements have substantially advanced the HSV/AAV hybrid method for large-scale rAAV manufacture, facilitating the generation of highly potent, clinical-grade purity rAAV vector stocks. At least one human clinical trial employing rAAV generated via rHSV helper-assisted replication is poised to commence, highlighting the advances and relevance of this production method.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a human parvovirus currently being developed as a vector for gene therapy applications. Because the gene transfer vector commonly retains only the AAV terminal repeats, propagation of recombinant AAV (rAAV) requires that the viral replication (Rep) and capsid (Cap) proteins be supplied in trans. In an effort to optimize the production of these vectors, a panel of helper plasmids was constructed to determine if expression of the rep and/or cap genes is a limiting factor for rAAV packaging. Expression of the Rep and Cap proteins was increased by replacing the endogenous AAV promoters, p5 and p40, with the Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) long terminal repeat (LTR) and the cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter, respectively. Increased synthesis of the Cap proteins resulted in an approximately 10-fold increase in the yield of rAAV, indicating that production of capsid proteins is one limiting factor for rAAV packaging. Expression of the rep gene from the RSV LTR not only failed to increase the yield of rAAV but also prevented activation of p40 transcription with adenovirus infection, resulting in a reduced level of capsid protein synthesis.
Differences in airway epithelial biology between mice and humans have presented challenges to evaluating gene therapies for cystic fibrosis (CF) using murine models. In this context, recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) type 2 and rAAV5 vectors have very different transduction efficiencies in human air–liquid interface (ALI) airway epithelia (rAAV2 ≅ rAAV5) as compared with mouse lung (rAAV5 >> rAAV2). It is unclear if these differences are due to species-specific airway biology or limitations of ALI cultures to reproduce in vivo airway biology. To this end, we compared rAAV2 and rAAV5 transduction biology in mouse and human ALI cultures, and investigated the utility of murine ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) ALI epithelia to study CFTR complementation. Our results demonstrate that mouse ALI epithelia retain in vivo preferences for rAAV serotype transduction from the apical membrane (rAAV5 >> rAAV2) not seen in human epithelia (rAAV2 ≅ rAAV5). Viral binding of rAAV2 and rAAV5 to the apical surface of mouse ALI airway epithelia was not significantly different, and proteasome-modulating agents significantly enhanced rAAV2 transduction to a level equivalent to that of rAAV5 in the presence of these agents, suggesting that the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway represents a more significant intracellular block for rAAV2 transduction of mouse airway epithelia. Interestingly, cAMP-inducible chloride currents were enhanced in ΔF508CFTR mouse ALI cultures, making this model incompatible with CFTR complementation studies. These studies emphasize species-specific differences in airway biology between mice and humans that significantly influence the use of mice as surrogate models for rAAV transduction and gene therapy for CF.
recombinant adeno-associated virus; airway model; serotype; tropism
Differences in airway epithelial biology between mice and humans have presented challenges to evaluating gene therapies for cystic fibrosis (CF) using murine models. In this context, recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) type 2 and rAAV5 vectors have very different transduction efficiencies in human air-liquid interface (ALI) airway epithelia (rAAV2 ≅ rAAV5) as compared with mouse lung (rAAV5≫rAAV2). It is unclear if these differences are due to species-specific airway biology or limitations of ALI cultures to reproduce in vivo airway biology. To this end, we compared rAAV2 and rAAV5 transduction biology in mouse and human ALI cultures, and investigated the utility of murine ΔF508 cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) ALI epithelia to study CFTR complementation. Our results demonstrate that mouse ALI epithelia retain in vivo preferences for rAAV serotype transduction from the apical membrane (rAAV5≫rAAV2) not seen in human epithelia (rAAV2 ≅ rAAV5). Viral binding of rAAV2 and rAAV5 to the apical surface of mouse ALI airway epithelia was not significantly different, and proteasome-modulating agents significantly enhanced rAAV2 transduction to a level equivalent to that of rAAV5 in the presence of these agents, suggesting that the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway represents a more significant intracellular block for rAAV2 transduction of mouse airway epithelia. Interestingly, cAMP-inducible chloride currents were enhanced in ΔF 508C FTR mouse ALI cultures, making this model incompatible with CFTR complementation studies. These studies emphasize species-specific differences in airway biology between mice and humans that significantly influence the use of mice as surrogate models for rAAV transduction and gene therapy for CF.
recombinant adeno-associated virus; airway model; serotype; tropism
Application of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) in gene therapy has been limited by its packaging capacity. Recent studies suggested that rAAV could achieve persistent transgene expression beyond 4.7-kb packaging limit. To clarify the mechanism leading to transgene expression from oversized rAAV vector, we constructed a series of rAAV vectors with genomes ranging from 2.9 to 7.2 kb. A plasmid replication origin and an ampicillin-resistant marker were included in the vector to facilitate the recovery of circularized, post-transduction AAV genome. Southern dot-blot analysis and silver staining confirmed that rAAVs could be produced at varying vector size. However, the vector yields decreased approximately tenfold for oversized vectors as compared to regular ones. Alkaline Southern blot hybridization suggested that the packaged genomes for oversized vectors were truncated. In the cells transduced by the above vectors, circularized rAAV monomers could be rescued at 24 hours after infection. Few recovered AAV genomes were >5 kb regardless of the initial vector size. In mice receiving the above vectors, larger circularized rAAV genomes could be recovered for oversized vectors at day 21 after vector administration. Our studies suggested that the partially packaged rAAV sequences may complement each other to restore full expression cassette.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) type 2 (rAAV) vectors have recently been shown to have great utility as gene transfer agents both in vitro and in vivo. One of the problems associated with the use of rAAV vectors has been the difficulty of large-scale vector production. Low-efficiency plasmid transfection of the rAAV vector and complementing AAV type 2 (AAV-2) functions (rep and cap) followed by superinfection with adenovirus has been the standard approach to rAAV production. The objectives of this study were to demonstrate the ability of a recombinant herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) amplicon expressing AAV-2 Rep and Cap to support replication and packaging of rAAV vectors. HSV-1 amplicon vectors were constructed which contain the AAV-2 rep and cap genes under control of their native promoters (p5, p19, and p40). An HSV-1 amplicon vector, HSV-RC/KOS or HSV-RC/d27, was generated by supplying helper functions with either wild-type HSV-1 (KOS strain) or the ICP27-deleted mutant of HSV-1, d27-1, respectively. Replication of the amplicon stocks is not inhibited by the presence of AAV-2 Rep proteins, which highlights important differences between HSV-1 and adenovirus replication and the mechanism of providing helper function for productive AAV infection. Coinfection of rAAV and HSV-RC/KOS resulted in the replication and amplification of rAAV genomes. Similarly, rescue and replication of rAAV genomes occurred when rAAV vector plasmids were transfected into cells followed by HSV-RC/KOS infection and when two rAAV proviral cell lines were infected with HSV-RC/KOS or HSV-RC/d27. Production of infectious rAAV by rescue from two rAAV proviral cell lines has also been achieved with HSV-RC/KOS and HSV-RC/d27. The particle titer of rAAV produced with HSV-RC/d27 is equal to that achieved by supplying rep and cap by transfection followed by adenovirus superinfection. Importantly, no detectable wild-type AAV-2 is generated with this approach. These results demonstrate that an HSV-1 amplicon expressing the AAV-2 genes rep and cap along with HSV-1 helper functions supports the replication and packaging of rAAV vectors in a scaleable process.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors can mediate long-term stable transduction in various target tissues. However, with rAAV serotype 2 (rAAV2) vectors, liver transduction is confined to only a small portion of hepatocytes even after administration of extremely high vector doses. In order to investigate whether rAAV vectors of other serotypes exhibit similar restricted liver transduction, we performed a dose-response study by injecting mice with β-galactosidase-expressing rAAV1 and rAAV8 vectors via the portal vein. The rAAV1 vector showed a blunted dose-response similar to that of rAAV2 at high doses, while the rAAV8 vector dose-response remained unchanged at any dose and ultimately could transduce all the hepatocytes at a dose of 7.2 × 1012 vector genomes/mouse without toxicity. This indicates that all hepatocytes have the ability to process incoming single-stranded vector genomes into duplex DNA. A single tail vein injection of the rAAV8 vector was as efficient as portal vein injection at any dose. In addition, intravascular administration of the rAAV8 vector at a high dose transduced all the skeletal muscles throughout the body, including the diaphragm, the entire cardiac muscle, and substantial numbers of cells in the pancreas, smooth muscles, and brain. Thus, rAAV8 is a robust vector for gene transfer to the liver and provides a promising research tool for delivering genes to various target organs. In addition, the rAAV8 vector may offer a potential therapeutic agent for various diseases affecting nonhepatic tissues, but great caution is required for vector spillover and tight control of tissue-specific gene expression.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors have emerged as vehicles for gene therapy. In addition, anti-neoplastic properties have been attributed to wild-type AAV. To take advantage of both features and to overcome technical problems associated with rAAV preparation, we developed a production method in which rAAV particles are amplified in an infectious cycle in the presence of wtAAV. This results in a 103−104-fold amplification of rAAV input particles. rAAV-GFP particles generated by this method were used to transduce ovarian cancer cell lines to evaluate their potential in ovarian cancer gene therapy, in comparison to a rAd-GFP vector. The transduction efficiency of NIH-OVCAR3, MDAH 2774 and SKOV3 cells with rAAV-GFP particles was low (< 1%) and did not improve by increasing the number of particles/cell. Repeated administration and continued exposure of NIH-OVCAR3 and MDAH 2774 improved transduction to over 3%. In contrast, these cell lines were more efficiently transduced by rAAV-GFP in the presence of adenovirus (~15%) and by rAd-GFP (> 50%). These results indicate that in contrast to rAd vectors, rAAV particles are not suitable for therapeutic gene transfer in ovarian cancer cells unless efficient help can be provided to mediate ss to ds DNA conversion.© 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
cancer gene therapy; recombinant adeno-associated virus; recombinant adenovirus; ovarian cancer
Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based muscle gene therapy has achieved tremendous success in numerous animal models of human diseases. Recent clinical trials with this vector have also demonstrated great promise. However, to achieve therapeutic benefit in patients, large inocula of virus will likely be necessary to establish the required level of transgene expression. For these reasons, efforts aimed at increasing the efficacy of AAV-mediated gene delivery to muscle have the potential for improving the safety and therapeutic benefit in clinical trials. In the present study, we compared the efficiency of gene delivery to mouse muscle cells for recombinant AAV type 2 (rAAV-2) and rAAV-2cap5 (AAV-2 genomes pseudo-packaged into AAV-5 capsids). Despite similar levels of transduction by these two vectors in undifferentiated myoblasts, pseudotyped rAAV-2cap5 demonstrated dramatically enhanced transduction in differentiated myocytes in vitro (>500-fold) and in skeletal muscle in vivo (>200-fold) compared to rAAV-2. Serotype-specific differences in transduction efficiency did not directly correlate with viral binding to muscle cells but rather appeared to involve endocytic or intracellular barriers to infection. Furthermore, application of this pseudotyped virus in a mouse model of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy also demonstrated significantly improved transduction efficiency. These findings should have a significant impact on improving rAAV-mediated gene therapy in muscle.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors offer promise for the gene therapy of α1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency. In our prior trial, an rAAV vector expressing human AAT (rAAV1-CB-hAAT) provided sustained, vector-derived AAT expression for >1 year. In the current phase 2 clinical trial, this same vector, produced by a herpes simplex virus complementation method, was administered to nine AAT-deficient individuals by intramuscular injection at doses of 6.0×1011, 1.9×1012, and 6.0×1012 vector genomes/kg (n=3 subjects/dose). Vector-derived expression of normal (M-type) AAT in serum was dose dependent, peaked on day 30, and persisted for at least 90 days. Vector administration was well tolerated, with only mild injection site reactions and no serious adverse events. Serum creatine kinase was transiently elevated on day 30 in five of six subjects in the two higher dose groups and normalized by day 45. As expected, all subjects developed anti-AAV antibodies and interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot responses to AAV peptides, and no subjects developed antibodies to AAT. One subject in the mid-dose group developed T cell responses to a single AAT peptide unassociated with any clinical effects. Muscle biopsies obtained on day 90 showed strong immunostaining for AAT and moderate to marked inflammatory cell infiltrates composed primarily of CD3-reactive T lymphocytes that were primarily of the CD8+ subtype. These results support the feasibility and safety of AAV gene therapy for AAT deficiency, and indicate that serum levels of vector-derived normal human AAT >20 μg/ml can be achieved. However, further improvements in the design or delivery of rAAV-AAT vectors will be required to achieve therapeutic target serum AAT concentrations.
Flotte and colleagues report on a phase 2 trial in which the same α1-antitrypsin (AAT) AAV vector as in phase 1 is administered intramuscularly to nine AAT-deficient individuals at one of three doses. Vector-derived expression of normal (M-type) AAT in serum is shown to be dose dependent, peaks on day 30, and persists for at least 90 days, although AAT levels were sub-therapeutic.
To evaluate the potential of gene therapy with a recombinant adeno-associated virus vector encoding the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist gene (rAAV-IL-1Ra) in the treatment of experimental uveitis.
The vitreal cavity of New Zealand white rabbits was injected with rAAV-IL-1Ra (4×107 infectious units), and the contralateral eye was injected with the same amount of rAAV-LacZ or PBS as a control. Transgene expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry, ELISA, and RT-PCR. To evaluate the therapeutic potential of rAAV-IL-1Ra, experimental uveitis was induced by intravitreal injection of IL-1α at 10 and 100 days after rAAV–IL-1Ra administration. The effects of rAAV-IL-1Ra on experimental uveitis were investigated using histological and aqueous analysis.
Following intravitreal injection of rAAV-IL-1Ra, transgene expression was found in various cell types of the ocular tissues, such as ciliary epithelial cells, retinal ganglion cells, and retinal pigment epithelial cells. RT-PCR and ELISA showed that the IL-1Ra transgene persisted in the rabbit eye for at least 100 days. Compared with the control eyes, the transgene expression ameliorated experimental uveitis at 10 and 100 days after a single administration of rAAV-IL-1Ra.
Intravitreal administration of rAAV-IL-1Ra led to sustained human IL-1Ra transgene expression in rabbit eyes for 100 days. The transgene expression suppressed uveitis episodes at 10 and 100 days after rAAV-IL-1Ra injection. Long-term suppression of experimental uveitis could be achieved by gene therapy with rAAV-IL-1Ra.
Glycogen storage disease (GSD) type Ia and Ib are disorders of impaired glucose homeostasis affecting the liver and kidney. GSD-Ib also affects neutrophils. Current dietary therapies cannot prevent long-term complications. In animal studies, recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector-mediated gene therapy can correct or minimize multiple aspects of the disorders, offering hope for human gene therapy.
A summary of recent progress in rAAV-mediated gene therapy for GSD-I; strategies to improve rAAV-mediated gene delivery, transduction efficiency and immune avoidance; and vector refinements that improve expression.
rAAV-mediated gene delivery to the liver can restore glucose homeostasis in preclinical models of GSD-I, but some long-term complications of the liver and kidney remain. Gene therapy for GSD-Ib is less advanced than for GSD-Ia and only transient correction of myeloid dysfunction has been achieved. A question remains whether a single rAAV vector can meet the expression efficiency and tropism required to treat all aspects of GSD-I, or if a multi-prong approach is needed. An understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of rAAV vectors in the context of strategies to achieve efficient transduction of the liver, kidney, and hematopoietic stem cells is required for treating GSD-I.
AAV; endoplasmic reticulum; gene therapy; glucose-6-phosphatase; glucose-6-phosphate transporter; glucose homeostasis; glycogen storage disease; hepatic gene delivery
The initial aim of this study was to combine attributes of adeno-associated virus (AAV) and adenovirus (Ad) gene therapy vectors to generate an Ad-AAV hybrid vector allowing efficient site-specific integration with Ad vectors. In executing our experimental strategy, we found that, in addition to the known incompatibility of Rep expression and Ad growth, an equally large obstacle was presented by the inefficiency of the integration event when using traditional recombinant AAV (rAAV) vectors. This study has addressed both of these problems. We have shown that a first-generation Ad can be generated that expresses Rep proteins at levels consistent with those found in wild-type AAV (wtAAV) infections and that Rep-mediated AAV persistence can occur in the presence of first-generation Ad vectors. Our finding that traditional rAAV plasmid vectors lack integration potency compared to wtAAV plasmid constructs (10- to 100-fold differences) was unexpected but led to the discovery of a previously unidentified AAV integration enhancer sequence element which functions in cis to an AAV inverted terminal repeat-flanked target gene. rAAV constructs containing left-end AAV sequence, including the p5-rep promoter sequence, integrate efficiently in a site-specific manner. The identification of this novel AAV integration enhancer element is consistent with previous studies, which have indicated that a high frequency of wtAAV recombinant junction formation occurs in the vicinity of the p5 promoter, and recent studies have demonstrated a role for this region in AAV DNA replication. Understanding the contribution of this element to the mechanism of AAV integration will be critical to the use of AAV vectors for targeted gene transfer applications.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) is capable of directing long-term, high-level transgene expression without destructive cell-mediated immune responses. However, traditional packaging methods for rAAV vectors are generally inefficient and contaminated with replication-competent AAV (rcAAV) particles. Although wild-type AAV is not associated with any known human diseases, contaminating rcAAV particles may affect rAAV gene expression and are an uncontrolled variable in many AAV gene transfer studies. In the current study, a novel strategy was designed to both optimize AAV rep gene expression and increase vector yield, as well as simultaneously to diminish the potential of generating rcAAV particles from the helper plasmid. The strategy is based on the insertion of an additional intron in the AAV genome. In the AAV infectious clone, the intron insertion had no effects on the properties of Rep proteins expressed. Normal levels of both Rep and Cap proteins were expressed, and the replication of the AAV genome was not impaired. However, the generation of infectious rcAAV particles using intronized AAV helper was greatly diminished, which was due to the oversized AAV genome caused by the insertion of the artificial introns. Moreover, the rAAV packaging was significantly improved with the appropriate choice of intron and insertion position. The intron is another element that can regulate the rep and cap gene expression from the helper plasmid. This study provides for a novel AAV packaging system which is highly versatile and efficient. It can not only be combined with other AAV packaging systems, including rep-containing cell lines and herpes simplex virus hybrid packaging methods, but also be used in other vector systems as well.
Gene transfer vectors based on recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) are simple, versatile, and safe. While the conventional applications for rAAV vectors have focused on delivery of therapeutic genes, we have developed the system for delivery of vaccine antigens. In particular, we are interested in generating rAAV vectors for use as a prophylactic human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) vaccine. To that end, we constructed vaccine vectors that expressed genes from the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) for evaluation in the monkey SIV model. After a single intramuscular dose, rAAV/SIV vaccines elicited SIV-specific T cells and antibodies in macaques. Furthermore, immunized animals were able to significantly restrict replication of a live, virulent SIV challenge. These data suggest that rAAV vaccine vectors induced biologically relevant immune responses, and thus, warrant continued development as a viable HIV-1 vaccine candidate.