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1.  Targeting of Adenovirus Serotype 5 Pseudotyped with Short Fiber from Serotype 41 to c-erbB2-Positive Cells Using Bispecific Single-Chain Diabody 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;388(3):443-461.
Summary
The purpose of the current study was to alter the broad native tropism of human adenovirus for virus targeting to c-erbB2-positive cancer cells. First, we engineered a single-chain antibody (scFv) against the c-erbB2 oncoprotein into minor capsid protein IX (pIX) of adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) in a manner commensurate with virion integrity and binding to the soluble extracellular c-erbB2 domain. To ablate native viral tropism and facilitate binding of the pIX-incorporated scFv to cellular c-erbB2 we replaced the Ad5 fiber with the Ad41 short (41s) fiber devoid of all known cell-binding determinants. The resultant Ad5F41sIX6.5 vector demonstrated increased cell binding and gene transfer as compared to the Ad5F41s control, however, this augmentation of virus infectivity was not c-erbB2-specific. Incorporation of a six histidine (His6) peptide into the C-terminus of the 41s fiber protein resulted in markedly increased Ad5F41s6H infectivity in 293AR cells, which express a membrane-anchored scFv against the C-terminal oligo-histidine tag, as compared to the Ad5F41s vector and the parental 293 cells. These data suggested that a 41s fiber-incorporated His6 tag could serve for attachment of an adapter protein designed to guide Ad5F41s6H infection in a c-erbB2-specific manner. We therefore engineered a bispecific scFv diabody (scDb) combining affinities for both c-erbB2 and the His6 tag and showed its ability to provide up to 25-fold increase of Ad5F41s6H infectivity in c-erbB2-positive cells. Thus, Ad5 fiber replacement by a His6–tagged 41s fiber coupled with virus targeting mediated by an scDb adapter represents a promising strategy to confer Ad5 vector tropism for c-erbB2-positive cancer cells.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2009.03.016
PMCID: PMC2696239  PMID: 19285990
Adenovirus; c-erbB2; serotype 41 short fiber; capsid protein IX; single-chain diabody
2.  Enhanced delivery of mda-7/IL-24 using a serotype chimeric adenovirus (Ad.5/3) in combination with the Apogossypol derivative BI-97C1 (Sabutoclax) improves therapeutic efficacy in low CAR colorectal cancer cells 
Journal of Cellular Physiology  2012;227(5):2145-2153.
Adenovirus (Ad)-based gene therapy represents a potentially viable strategy for treating colorectal cancer. The infectivity of serotype 5 adenovirus (Ad.5), routinely used as a transgene delivery vector, is dependent on Coxsackie-adenovirus receptors (CAR). CAR expression is downregulated in many cancers thus preventing optimum therapeutic efficiency of Ad.5-based therapies. To overcome the low CAR problem, a serotype chimerism approach was used to generate a recombinant Ad (Ad.5/3) that is capable of infecting cancer cells via Ad.3 receptors in a CAR-independent manner. We evaluated the improved transgene delivery and efficacy of Ad.5/3 recombinant virus expressing melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24), an effective wide-spectrum cancer-selective therapeutic. In low CAR human colorectal cancer cells RKO, wild-type Ad.5 virus expressing mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.5-mda-7) failed to infect efficiently resulting in lack of expression of MDA-7/IL-24 or induction of apoptosis. However, a recombinant Ad.5/3 virus expressing mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.5/3-mda-7) efficiently infected RKO cells resulting in higher MDA-7/IL-24 expression and inhibition of cell growth both in vitro and in nude mice xenograft models. Addition of the novel Bcl-2 family pharmacological inhibitor Apogossypol derivative BI-97C1 (Sabutoclax) significantly augmented the efficacy of Ad.5/3-mda-7. A combination regimen of suboptimal doses of Ad.5/3-mda-7 and BI-97C1 profoundly enhanced cytotoxicity in RKO cells both in vitro and in vivo. Considering the fact that Ad.5-mda-7 has demonstrated significant objective responses in a Phase I clinical trial for advanced solid tumors, Ad.5/3-mda-7 alone or in combination with BI-97C1 would be predicted to exert significantly improved therapeutic efficacy in colorectal cancer patients.
doi:10.1002/jcp.22947
PMCID: PMC3228880  PMID: 21780116
Viral gene therapy; Mcl-1 inhibition; apoptosis induction; anti-tumor activity
3.  CryoEM Visualization of an Adenovirus Capsid-Incorporated HIV Antigen 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49607.
Adenoviral (Ad) vectors show promise as platforms for vaccine applications against infectious diseases including HIV. However, the requirements for eliciting protective neutralizing antibody and cellular immune responses against HIV remain a major challenge. In a novel approach to generate 2F5- and 4E10-like antibodies, we engineered an Ad vector with the HIV membrane proximal ectodomain region (MPER) epitope displayed on the hypervariable region 2 (HVR2) of the viral hexon capsid, instead of expressed as a transgene. The structure and flexibility of MPER epitopes, and the structural context of these epitopes within viral vectors, play important roles in the induced host immune responses. In this regard, understanding the critical factors for epitope presentation would facilitate optimization strategies for developing viral vaccine vectors. Therefore we undertook a cryoEM structural study of this Ad vector, which was previously shown to elicit MPER-specific humoral immune responses. A subnanometer resolution cryoEM structure was analyzed with guided molecular dynamics simulations. Due to the arrangement of hexons within the Ad capsid, there are twelve unique environments for the inserted peptide that lead to a variety of conformations for MPER, including individual α-helices, interacting α-helices, and partially extended forms. This finding is consistent with the known conformational flexibility of MPER. The presence of an extended form, or an induced extended form, is supported by interaction of this vector with the human HIV monoclonal antibody 2F5, which recognizes 14 extended amino acids within MPER. These results demonstrate that the Ad capsid influences epitope structure, flexibility and accessibility, all of which affect the host immune response. In summary, this cryoEM structural study provided a means to visualize an epitope presented on an engineered viral vector and suggested modifications for the next generation of Ad vectors with capsid-incorporated HIV epitopes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049607
PMCID: PMC3498208  PMID: 23166728
4.  Enhancing mda-7/IL-24 therapy in renal carcinoma cells by inhibiting multiple protective signaling pathways using sorafenib and by Ad.5/3 gene delivery 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2010;10(12):1290-1305.
We have determined whether an adenovirus that comprises the tail and shaft domains of a serotype 5 virus and the knob domain of a serotype 3 virus expressing MDA-7/IL-24, Ad.5/3-mda-7, more effectively infects and kills renal carcinoma cells (RCCs) compared to a serotype 5 virus, Ad.5-mda-7. RCCs are a tumor cell type that generally does not express the receptor for the type 5 adenovirus; the coxsakie and adenovirus receptor (CAR). Ad.5/3-mda-7 infected RCCs to a much greater degree than Ad.5-mda-7. MDA-7/IL-24 protein secreted from Ad.5/3-mda-7-infected RCCs induced MDA-7/IL-24 expression and promoted apoptosis in uninfected “bystander” RCCs. MDA-7/IL-24 killed both infected and bystander RCCs via CD95 activation. Knockdown of intracellular MDA-7/IL-24 in uninfected RCCs blocked the lethal effects of conditioned media. Infection of RCC tumors in one flank, with Ad.5/3-mda-7, suppressed growth of infected tumors and reduced the growth rate of uninfected tumors implanted on the opposite flank. The toxicity of the serotype 5/3 recombinant adenovirus to express MDA-7/IL-24 was enhanced by combined molecular or small molecule inhibition of MEK1/2 and PI3K; inhibition of mTOR, PI3K and MEK1/2; or use of the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib. In RCCs, combined inhibition of cytoprotective cell signaling pathways enhanced the MDA-7/IL-24-induction of CD95 activation, with greater mitochondrial dysfunction due to loss of MCL-1 and BCL-XL expression and tumor cell death. Treatment of RCC tumors in vivo with sorafenib also enhanced Ad.5/3-mda-7 toxicity and prolonged animal survival. Future combinations of these approaches hold promise for developing a more effective therapy for kidney cancer.
doi:10.4161/cbt.10.12.13497
PMCID: PMC3047088  PMID: 20948318
ERK; JNK; PI3K; AKT; MDA-7/IL-24; sorafenib; PERK; MAPK; interleukin; RCC; kidney
5.  Structure and uncoating of immature adenovirus 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;392(2):547-557.
Summary
Maturation via proteolytical processing is a common trait in the viral world, and is often accompanied by large conformational changes and rearrangements in the capsid. The adenovirus protease has been shown to play a dual role in the viral infectious cycle: (a) in maturation, as viral assembly starts with precursors to several of the structural proteins, but ends with proteolytically processed versions in the mature virion; and (b) in entry, because protease-impaired viruses have difficulties in endosome escape and uncoating. Indeed, viruses that have not undergone proteolytical processing are not infectious. We present the 3D structure of immature adenovirus particles, as represented by the thermosensitive mutant Ad2 ts1 grown under non-permissive conditions, and compare it with the mature capsid. Our 3DEM maps at subnanometer resolution indicate that adenovirus maturation does not involve large scale conformational changes in the capsid. Difference maps reveal the location of unprocessed peptides pIIIa and pVI and help to define their role in capsid assembly and maturation. An intriguing difference appears in the core, indicating a more compact organization and increased stability of the immature cores. We have further investigated these properties by in vitro disassembly assays. Fluorescence and electron microscopy experiments reveal differences in the stability and uncoating of immature viruses, both at the capsid and core levels, as well as disassembly intermediates not previously imaged.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2009.06.057
PMCID: PMC2749003  PMID: 19563809
Adenovirus; virus maturation; virus uncoating; virus structure; three-dimensional electron microscopy
6.  Localization of the N-terminus of minor coat protein IIIa in the adenovirus capsid 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;383(4):923-934.
Summary
Minor coat protein IIIa is conserved in all adenoviruses and required for correct viral assembly, but its precise function in capsid organization is unknown. The latest adenovirus capsid model proposes that IIIa is located underneath the vertex region. To obtain experimental evidence on the location of IIIa and further define its role, we engineered the IIIa gene to encode heterologous N-terminal peptide extensions. Recombinant adenovirus variants with IIIa encoding six-histidine tag (6-His), 6-His and FLAG peptides, or 6-His linked to FLAG with a (Gly4Ser)3 linker were rescued and analyzed for virus yield, capsid incorporation of heterologous peptides, and capsid stability. Longer extensions could not be rescued. Western blot analysis confirmed that the modified IIIa proteins were expressed in infected cells and incorporated into virions. In the adenovirus encoding the 6-His-linker-FLAG-IIIa gene, the 6-His tag was present in light particles but not in mature virions. Immuno-electron microscopy of this virus showed that the FLAG epitope is not accessible to antibodies on the viral particles. Three-dimensional electron microscopy (3DEM) and difference mapping located the IIIa N-terminal extension beneath the vertex complex, wedged at the interface between penton base and the peripentonal hexons, therefore supporting the latest proposed model. The position of the IIIa N-terminus and its low tolerance for modification provide new clues for understanding the role of this minor coat protein in adenovirus capsid assembly and disassembly.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.08.054
PMCID: PMC2652759  PMID: 18786542
Adenovirus; polypeptide IIIa; minor coat protein; virus structure; three-dimensional electron microscopy
7.  Engineering of Adenovirus Vectors Containing Heterologous Peptide Sequences in the C Terminus of Capsid Protein IX 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(14):6893-6899.
The utility of the present generation of adenovirus (Ad) vectors for gene therapy applications could be improved by restricting native viral tropism to selected cell types. In order to achieve modification of Ad tropism, we proposed to exploit a minor component of viral capsid, protein IX (pIX), for genetic incorporation of targeting ligands. Based on the proposed structure of pIX, we hypothesized that its C terminus could be used as a site for incorporation of heterologous peptide sequences. We engineered recombinant Ad vectors containing modified pIX carrying a carboxy-terminal Flag epitope along with a heparan sulfate binding motif consisting of either eight consecutive lysines or a polylysine sequence. Using an anti-Flag antibody, we have shown that modified pIXs are incorporated into virions and display Flag-containing C-terminal sequences on the capsid surface. In addition, both lysine octapeptide and polylysine ligands were accessible for binding to heparin-coated beads. In contrast to virus bearing lysine octapeptide, Ad vector displaying a polylysine was capable of recognizing cellular heparan sulfate receptors. We have demonstrated that incorporation of a polylysine motif into the pIX ectodomain results in a significant augmentation of Ad fiber knob-independent infection of CAR-deficient cell types. Our data suggest that the pIX ectodomain can serve as an alternative to the fiber knob, penton base, and hexon proteins for incorporation of targeting ligands for the purpose of Ad tropism modification.
doi:10.1128/JVI.76.14.6893-6899.2002
PMCID: PMC136342  PMID: 12072490

Results 1-7 (7)