Disease mechanisms leading to different forms of chondrodysplasia include extracellular matrix (ECM) alterations and intracellular stress resulting in abnormal changes to chondrocyte proliferation and survival. Delineating the relative contribution of these two disease mechanisms is a major challenge in understanding disease pathophysiology in genetic skeletal diseases and a prerequisite for developing effective therapies. To determine the influence of intracellular stress and changes in chondrocyte phenotype to the development of chondrodysplasia, we targeted the expression of the G2320R mutant form of thyroglobulin to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of resting and proliferating chondrocytes. Previous studies on this mutant protein have shown that it induces intracellular aggregates and causes cell stress and death in the thyroid gland. The expression and retention of this exogenous mutant protein in resting and proliferating chondrocytes resulted in a chronic cell stress response, growth plate dysplasia and reduced bone growth, without inducing any alterations to the architecture and organization of the cartilage ECM. More significantly, the decreased bone growth seemed to be the direct result of reduced chondrocyte proliferation in the proliferative zone of growth plates in transgenic mice, without transcriptional activation of a classical unfolded protein response (UPR) or apoptosis. Overall, these data show that mutant protein retention in the ER of resting and proliferative zone chondrocytes is sufficient to cause disrupted bone growth. The specific disease pathways triggered by mutant protein retention do not necessarily involve a prototypic UPR, but all pathways impact upon chondrocyte proliferation in the cartilage growth plate.
Mutant matrilin-3 (V194D) forms non-native disulphide bonded aggregates in the rER of chondrocytes from cell and mouse models of multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED). Intracellular retention of mutant matrilin-3 causes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and induces an unfolded protein response (UPR) including the upregulation of two genes recently implicated in ER stress: Armet and Creld2. Nothing is known about the role of Armet and Creld2 in human genetic diseases. In this study, we used a variety of cell and mouse models of chondrodysplasia to determine the genotype-specific expression profiles of Armet and Creld2. We also studied their interactions with various mutant proteins and investigated their potential roles as protein disulphide isomerases (PDIs). Armet and Creld2 were up-regulated in cell and/or mouse models of chondrodysplasias caused by mutations in Matn3 and Col10a1, but not Comp. Intriguingly, both Armet and Creld2 were also secreted into the ECM of these disease models following ER stress. Armet and Creld2 interacted with mutant matrilin-3, but not with COMP, thereby validating the genotype-specific expression. Substrate-trapping experiments confirmed Creld2 processed PDI-like activity, thus identifying a putative functional role. Finally, alanine substitution of the two terminal cysteine residues from the A-domain of V194D matrilin-3 prevented aggregation, promoted mutant protein secretion and reduced the levels of Armet and Creld2 in a cell culture model. We demonstrate that Armet and Creld2 are genotype-specific ER stress response proteins with substrate specificities, and that aggregation of mutant matrilin-3 is a key disease trigger in MED that could be exploited as a potential therapeutic target.
Pseudoachondroplasia and multiple epiphyseal dysplasia are genetic skeletal diseases resulting from mutations in cartilage structural proteins. Electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry previously showed that the appearance of the cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) in targeted mouse models of these diseases is disrupted; however, the precise changes in ECM organization and the pathological consequences remain unknown. Our aim was to determine the effects of matrilin-3 and COMP mutations on the composition and extractability of ECM components to inform how these detrimental changes might influence cartilage organization and degeneration.
Cartilage was sequentially extracted using increasing denaturants and the extraction profiles of specific proteins determined using SDS-PAGE/Western blotting. Furthermore, the relative composition of protein pools was determined using mass spectrometry for a non-biased semi-quantitative analysis.
Western blotting revealed changes in the extraction of matrilins, COMP and collagen IX in mutant cartilage. Mass spectrometry confirmed quantitative changes in the extraction of structural and non-structural ECM proteins, including proteins with roles in cellular processes such as protein folding and trafficking. In particular, genotype-specific differences in the extraction of collagens XII and XIV and tenascins C and X were identified; interestingly, increased expression of several of these genes has recently been implicated in susceptibility and/or progression of murine osteoarthritis.
We demonstrated that mutation of matrilin-3 and COMP caused changes in the extractability of other cartilage proteins and that proteomic analyses of Matn3 V194D, Comp T585M and Comp DelD469 mouse models revealed both common and discrete disease signatures that provide novel insight into skeletal disease mechanisms and cartilage degradation.
Cartilage; Genetic skeletal disease; Proteomics; Pseudoachondroplasia; Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia
Due to their efficient transduction potential, adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are leading candidates for gene therapy in skeletal muscle diseases. However, immune responses toward the vector or transgene product have been observed in preclinical and clinical studies. TLR9 has been implicated in promoting AAV-directed immune responses, but vectors have not been developed to circumvent this barrier. To assess the requirement of TLR9 in promoting immunity toward AAV-associated antigens following skeletal muscle gene transfer in mice, we compared immunological responses in WT and Tlr9-deficient mice that received an AAV vector with an immunogenic capsid, AAVrh32.33. In Tlr9-deficient mice, IFN-γ T cell responses toward capsid and transgene antigen were suppressed, resulting in minimal cellular infiltrate and stable transgene expression in target muscles. These findings suggest that AAV-directed immune responses may be circumvented by depleting the ligand for TLR9 (CpG sequences) from the vector genome. Indeed, we found that CpG-depleted AAVrh32.33 vectors could establish persistent transgene expression, evade immunity, and minimize infiltration of effector cells. Thus, CpG-depleted AAV vectors could improve outcome of clinical trials of gene therapy for skeletal muscle disease.
For genetic diseases that manifest at a young age with irreversible consequences, early treatment is critical and essential. Neonatal gene therapy has the advantages of achieving therapeutic effects before disease manifestation, a low vector requirement and high vector-to-cell ratio, and a relatively immature immune system. Therapeutic effects or long-term rescue of neonatal lethality have been demonstrated in several animal models. However, vigorous cell proliferation in the newborn stage is a significant challenge for nonintegrating vectors, such as adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector. Slightly delaying the injection age, and readministration at a later time, are two of the alternative strategies to solve this problem. In this study, we demonstrated robust and efficient hepatic gene transfer by self-complementary AAV8 vector in neonatal mice. However, transduction quickly decreased over a few weeks because of vector dilution caused by fast proliferation. Delaying the injection age improved sustained expression, although it also increased neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses to AAV capsid. This approach can be used to treat genetic diseases with slow progression. For genetic diseases with early onset and severe consequences, early treatment is essential. A second injection of vector of a different serotype at a later time may overcome preexisting NAb and achieve sustained therapeutic effects.
Wang and colleagues conduct a series of preclinical animal studies examining the kinetics of AAV gene transfer. They demonstrate that self-complementary AAV8 results in robust and efficient hepatic gene transfer in neonatal mice. Yet, this transduction quickly decreases over a few weeks because of vector dilution caused by rapid cell proliferation in the liver of growing young mice.
Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD), the most common and severe urea cycle disorder, is an excellent model for developing liver-directed gene therapy. No curative therapy exists except for liver transplantation which is limited by available donors and carries significant risk of mortality and morbidity. Adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) has been shown to be the most efficient vector for liver-directed gene transfer and is currently being evaluated in a clinical trial for treating hemophilia B. In this study, we generated a clinical candidate vector for a proposed OTC gene therapy trial in humans based on a self-complementary AAV8 vector expressing codon-optimized human OTC (hOTCco) under the control of a liver-specific promoter. Codon-optimization dramatically improved the efficacy of OTC gene therapy. Supraphysiological expression levels and activity of hOTC were achieved in adult spfash mice following a single intravenous injection of hOTCco vector. Vector doses as low as 1×1010 genome copies (GC) achieved robust and sustained correction of the OTCD biomarker orotic aciduria and clinical protection against an ammonia challenge. Functional expression of hOTC in 40% of liver areas was found in mice treated with a low vector dose of 1×109 GC. We suggest that the clinical candidate vector we have developed has the potential to achieve therapeutic effects in OTCD patients.
Adeno-associated viruses (AAV); liver gene therapy; ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD); codon optimization
We investigated the retinal disease due to mutations in the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) gene in human patients and in an Rpgr conditional knockout (cko) mouse model.
XLRP patients with RPGR-ORF15 mutations (n = 35, ages at first visit 5–72 years) had clinical examinations, and rod and cone perimetry. Rpgr-cko mice, in which the proximal promoter and first exon were deleted ubiquitously, were back-crossed onto a BALB/c background, and studied with optical coherence tomography and electroretinography (ERG). Retinal histopathology was performed on a subset.
Different patterns of rod and cone dysfunction were present in patients. Frequently, there were midperipheral losses with residual rod and cone function in central and peripheral retina. Longitudinal data indicated that central rod loss preceded peripheral rod losses. Central cone-only vision with no peripheral function was a late stage. Less commonly, patients had central rod and cone dysfunction, but preserved, albeit abnormal, midperipheral rod and cone vision. Rpgr-cko mice had progressive retinal degeneration detectable in the first months of life. ERGs indicated relatively equal rod and cone disease. At late stages, there was greater inferior versus superior retinal degeneration.
RPGR mutations lead to progressive loss of rod and cone vision, but show different patterns of residual photoreceptor disease expression. Knowledge of the patterns should guide treatment strategies. Rpgr-cko mice had onset of degeneration at relatively young ages and progressive photoreceptor disease. The natural history in this model will permit preclinical proof-of-concept studies to be designed and such studies should advance progress toward human therapy.
Progress in treating canine RPGR disease prompted us to characterize patients with RPGR-ORF15 mutations and provide a detailed natural history of a novel Rpgr-mutant mouse for further proof-of-concept experiments.
Transduction of retinal pigment epithelial cells with an adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) based on serotype 2 has partially corrected retinal blindness in Leber congenital amaurosis type 2. However, many applications of gene therapy for retinal blindness rely on the efficient transduction of rod and cone photoreceptor which is difficult to achieve with first generation vector technology. To address this translational need, we evaluated rod and cone photoreceptor targeting of 4 novel AAV capsids (AAV7, AAV9, rh.64R1 and rh.8R) versus AAV2 and AAV8 in a foveated retina. Eyes of 20 nonhuman primates were injected subretinally in the proximity of the fovea. While numerous vectors efficiently transduced rods, only AAV9 targeted cones both centrally and peripherally efficiently at low doses, likely due to the abundance of galactosylated glycans, the primary receptor for AAV9, on cone photoreceptors. We conclude AAV9 is an ideal candidate for strategies that require restoration of cone photoreceptor function.
Vectors based on the primate-derived adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) are being evaluated in preclinical and clinical models. Natural infections with related AAVs activate memory B cells that produce antibodies capable of modulating the efficacy and safety of the vector. We have evaluated the biology of AAV8 gene transfer in macaque liver, with a focus on assessing the impact of pre-existing humoral immunity. Twenty-one macaques with various levels of AAV neutralizing antibody (NAb) were injected intravenously with AAV8 vector expressing green fluorescent protein. Pre-existing antibody titers in excess of 1:10 substantially diminished hepatocyte transduction that, in the absence of NAbs, was highly efficient. Vector-specific NAb diminished liver deposition of genomes and unexpectedly increased genome distribution to the spleen. The majority of animals showed high-level and stable sequestration of vector capsid protein by follicular dendritic cells of splenic germinal centers. These studies illustrate how natural immunity to a virus that is related to a vector can impact the efficacy and potential safety of in vivo gene therapy. We propose to use the in vitro transduction inhibition assay to evaluate research subjects before gene therapy and to preclude from systemic AAV8 trials those that have titers in excess of 1:10.
Wang and colleagues evaluate the impact of preexisting humoral immunity on adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8)-mediated gene transfer to macaque livers. They injected AAV8 vectors expressing green fluorescent protein into 21 macaques with various levels of AAV-neutralizing antibody (Nab), and found that NAb titers above 1:10 significantly impaired transduction and affected distribution of vector genomes.
Gene transfer vectors based on adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) are highly efficient in liver transduction and can be easily administered by intravenous injection. In mice, AAV8 transduces predominantly hepatocytes near central veins and yields lower transduction levels in hepatocytes in periportal regions. This transduction bias has important implications for gene therapy that aims to correct metabolic liver enzymes because metabolic zonation along the porto-central axis requires the expression of therapeutic proteins within the zone where they are normally localized.
In the present study we compared the expression pattern of AAV8 expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) in liver between mice, dogs, and non-human primates. We confirmed the pericentral dominance in transgene expression in mice with AAV8 when the liver-specific thyroid hormone-binding globulin (TBG) promoter was used but also observed the same expression pattern with the ubiquitous chicken β-actin (CB) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoters, suggesting that transduction zonation is not caused by promoter specificity. Predominantly pericentral expression was also found in dogs injected with AAV8. In contrast, in cynomolgus and rhesus macaques the expression pattern from AAV vectors was reversed, i.e. transgene expression was most intense around portal areas and less intense or absent around central veins. Infant rhesus macaques as well as newborn mice injected with AAV8 however showed a random distribution of transgene expression with neither portal nor central transduction bias. Based on the data in monkeys, adult humans treated with AAV vectors are predicted to also express transgenes predominantly in periportal regions whereas infants are likely to show a uniform transduction pattern in liver.
gene therapy; AAV; liver; animal models
Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD) is the most common inborn error of urea synthesis. Complete OTCD can result in hyperammonemic coma in the neonatal period which can rapidly become fatal. Current acute therapy involves dialysis; chronic therapy involves the stimulation of alternate nitrogen clearance pathways; and the only curative approach is liver transplantation. AAV vector based gene therapy would add to current treatment options provided the vector delivers high level and stable transgene expression in liver without dose limiting toxicity. In this study, we employed an AAV2/8-based self-complementary (sc) vector expressing the murine OTC gene under a liver-specific thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) promoter and examined the therapeutic effects in a mouse model of OTCD, the spf ash mouse. Seven days after a single intravenous injection of vector, treated mice showed complete normalization of urinary orotic acid, a measure of OTC activity. We further improved vector efficacy by incorporating a Kozak or Kozak-like sequence into mOTC cDNA which increased the OTC activity by 5- or 2-fold and achieved sustained correction of orotic aciduria for up to 7 months. Our results demonstrate that vector optimizations can significantly improve the efficacy of gene therapy.
Adeno-associated viruses (AAV); liver gene therapy; OTC deficiency; self-complementary
Adeno-associated viral vector (AAV)-mediated and muscle-directed gene therapy is a safe and noninvasive approach to treat hemophilia B and other genetic diseases. However, low efficiency of transduction, inhibitor formation and high prevalence of pre-existing immunity to the AAV capsid in humans remain as main challenges for AAV2-based vectors using this strategy. Vectors packaged with AAV7, 8, and 9 serotypes have improved gene transfer efficiencies and may provide potential alternatives to overcome these problems.
To compare the long-term expression of canine factor IX (cFIX) levels and anti-cFIX antibody responses following intramuscular injection of vectors packaged with AAV1, 2, 5, 7, 8, and 9 capsid in immunocompetent hemophilia B mice.
Methods and results
Highest expression was detected in mice injected with AAV2/8 vector (28% of normal), followed by AAV2/9 (15%) and AAV2/7 (10%). cFIX expression by AAV2/1 only ranged from 0–5% of normal levels. High incidences of anti-cFIX inhibitor (IgG) were detected in mice injected with AAV2 and 2/5 vectors, followed by AAV2/1. None of the mice treated with AAV2/7, 2/8, and 2/9 developed inhibitors or capsid T cells.
AAV7, 8, and 9 are more efficient and safer vectors for muscle-directed gene therapy with high levels of transgene expression and absence of inhibitor formation. The absence of antibody response to transgene by AAV7, 8, and 9 is independent of vector dose but may be due to the fact that these three serotypes are associated with high level distribution to, and transduction of, hepatocytes following i.m. injection.
Hemophilia B; gene therapy; adeno-associated viruses (AAV); factor IX; muscle
This study evaluated six adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the liver-specific thyroid hormone–binding globulin (TBG) promoter made with novel capsids in canine liver-directed gene transfer. Studies in 1.5-month-old dogs, which were administered vector through a peripheral vein, showed that AAV8 capsid vectors had the most favorable performance profiles. Interestingly, the absolute levels of hepatocyte transduction achieved with AAV8 were lower in dogs compared with what had been achieved in mice and nonhuman primates. Additional studies were performed with AAV8 delivered into the hepatic artery in adult dogs, with higher doses of vector used to assess potential dose-limiting toxicities. These studies showed good transduction on day 7 in one dog that apparently was lost by day 28 in another dog through the generation of GFP-specific T cells. Each adult dog was carefully monitored for any hemodynamic changes associated with vector infusion. Both animals demonstrated mild to moderate hypotension and bradycardia, which appeared to be anesthesia-related, making it difficult to evaluate contributions of the vector.
In this study, six clinically promising AAV serotypes were evaluated in dogs, using the same liver-specific promoter (TBG) and dose (3 × 1012 GC/kg). AAV8 emerged as the best performing serotype in liver, as observed previously in mice and nonhuman primates. However, AAV8 transgene expression levels were lower and less persistent in dogs than in other animal models.
Background & Aims
Transgenes delivered to livers of mice via adeno-associated virus (AAV) are expressed stably, via induction of immune tolerance. However, transgene expression is lost in higher-order primates. We investigated whether inflammatory processes, which likely differ between species, affect the stability of transgene expression.
We developed a mouse model of vector-unrelated, systemic inflammation following AAV-mediated transfer of genes to liver.
Inflammation eliminated previously stable expression of trangenes delivered by AAV; the limited tissue destruction and persistence of AAV genomes implicated immune responses that were not mediated by cytotoxic T cells. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α downregulated transgene expression from AAV, indicating a role for inflammatory cytokines in loss of transgene expression.
Inflammation and inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α can reduce AAV-mediated expression of transgenes in livers of mice. Inflammation might therefore affect expression of transgenes from viral vectors in humans.
Hepatic gene therapy; loss of tolerance; immune response; liver inflammation
Mutations in matrilin 3 can result in multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED), a disease characterized by delayed and irregular bone growth and early-onset osteoarthritis. Although intracellular retention of the majority of mutant matrilin 3 was previously observed in a murine model of MED caused by a Matn3 V194D mutation, some mutant protein was secreted into the extracellular matrix. Thus, it was proposed that secretion of mutant matrilin 3 may be dependent on the formation of hetero-oligomers with matrilin 1. The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis that deletion of matrilin 1 would abolish the formation of matrilin 1/matrilin 3 hetero-oligomers, eliminate the secretion of mutant matrilin 3, and influence disease severity.
Mice with a Matn3 V194D mutation were crossed with Matn1-null mice, generating mice that were homozygous for V194D and null for matrilin 1. This novel mouse was used for in-depth phenotyping, while cartilage and chondrocytes were studied both histochemically and biochemically.
Endochondral ossification was not disrupted any further in mice with a double V194D mutation compared with mice with a single mutation. A similar proportion of mutant matrilin 3 was present in the extracellular matrix, and the amount of retained mutant matrilin 3 was not noticeably increased. Retained mutant matrilin 3 formed disulfide-bonded aggregates and caused the co-retention of matrilin 1.
We showed that secretion of matrilin 3 V194D mutant protein is not dependent on hetero-oligomerization with matrilin 1, and that the total ablation of matrilin 1 expression has no impact on disease severity in mice with MED. Mutant matrilin 3 oligomers form non-native disulfide-bonded aggregates through the misfolded A domain.
The common form of Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA) due to CRB1 mutations needs further characterization of the human disease and a test of relevance of currently available animal models. A cohort of these patients was evaluated, and the disease expression was compared to that of the rd8 mouse model, to seek answers to questions of how to move CRB1-LCA closer to therapy.
To investigate the human disease due to CRB1 mutations and compare results with the Crb1-mutant rd8 mouse.
Twenty-two patients with CRB1 mutations were studied. Function was assessed with perimetry and electroretinography (ERG) and retinal structure with optical coherence tomography (OCT). Cortical structure and function were quantified with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Rd8 mice underwent ERG, OCT, and retinal histopathology.
Visual acuities ranged from 20/25 to light perception. Rod ERGs were not detectable; small cone signals were recordable. By perimetry, small central visual islands were separated by midperipheral scotomas from far temporal peripheral islands. The central islands were cone mediated, whereas the peripheral islands retained some rod function. With OCT, there were small foveal islands of thinned outer nuclear layer (ONL) surrounded by thick delaminated retina with intraretinal hyperreflective lesions. MRI showed structurally normal optic nerves and only subtle changes to occipital lobe white and gray matter. Functional MRI indicated that whole-brain responses from patients were of reduced amplitude and spatial extent compared with those of normal controls. Rd8 mice had essentially normal ERGs; OCT and histopathology showed patchy retinal disorganization with pseudorosettes more pronounced in ventral than in dorsal retina. Photoreceptor degeneration was associated with dysplastic regions.
CRB1 mutations lead to early-onset severe loss of vision with thickened, disorganized, nonseeing retina. Impaired peripheral vision can persist in late disease stages. Rd8 mice also have a disorganized retina, but there is sufficient photoreceptor integrity to produce largely normal retinal function. Differences between human and mouse diseases will complicate proof-of-concept studies intended to advance treatment initiatives.
Vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 9 are candidates for in vivo
gene delivery to many organs, but the receptor(s) mediating these tropisms have yet
to be defined. We evaluated AAV9 uptake by glycans with terminal sialic acids (SAs),
a common mode of cellular entry for viruses. We found, however, that AAV9 binding
increased when terminal SA was enzymatically removed, suggesting that galactose,
which is the most commonly observed penultimate monosaccharide to SA, may mediate
AAV9 transduction. This was confirmed in mutant CHO Pro-5 cells deficient in the
enzymes involved in glycoprotein biogenesis, as well as lectin interference studies.
Binding of AAV9 to glycans with terminal galactose was demonstrated via glycan
binding assays. Co-instillation of AAV9 vector with neuraminidase into mouse lung
resulted in exposure of terminal galactose on the apical surface of conducting airway
epithelial cells, as shown by lectin binding and increased transduction of these
cells, demonstrating the possible utility of this vector in lung-directed gene
transfer. Increasing the abundance of the receptor on target cells and improving
vector efficacy may improve delivery of AAV vectors to their therapeutic targets.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal codominant disorder caused by mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene. Homozygous FH patients (hoFH) have severe hypercholesterolemia leading to life threatening atherosclerosis in childhood and adolescence. Mice with germ line interruptions in the Ldlr and Apobec1 genes (Ldlr−/−Apobec1−/−) simulate metabolic and clinical aspects of hoFH, including atherogenesis on a chow diet.
In this study, vectors based on adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) were used to deliver the gene for mouse Ldlr (mLDLR) to the livers of Ldlr−/−Apobec1−/− mice. A single intravenous injection of AAV8.mLDLR was found to significantly reduce plasma cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol levels in chow-fed animals at doses as low as 3×109 genome copies/mouse. Whereas Ldlr−/−Apobec1−/− mice fed a western-type diet and injected with a control AAV8.null vector experienced a further 65% progression in atherosclerosis over 2 months compared with baseline mice, Ldlr−/−Apobec1−/− mice treated with AAV8.mLDLR realized an 87% regression of atherosclerotic lesions after 3 months compared to baseline mice. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed a substantial remodeling of atherosclerotic lesions.
Collectively, the results presented herein suggest that AAV8-based gene therapy for FH may be feasible and support further development of this approach. The pre-clinical data from these studies will enable for the effective translation of gene therapy into the clinic for treatment of FH.
Gene transfer to murine liver with vectors based on novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotypes is efficient, stable, and safe even in the setting of antigenic transgene products. We undertook a study in cynomolgus macaques to evaluate the relevance of these findings to primates. The vectors were based on AAV serotype 7 and expressed green fluorescence protein (GFP) from the cytomegalovirus enhanced β-actin promoter in both single-stranded and self-complementary genomes. Transduction efficiencies from the single-stranded vectors were similar to those observed in mice, although there was no advantage in primates with the self-complementary vectors. Primates elicited vibrant cytotoxic T cell responses to GFP that correlated with hepatitis and loss of transgene expression. There was no evidence of T cell activation in response to the AAV capsid. These studies indicate that under some conditions primates may activate more robust T cell responses to transgene products than is observed in mice.
We created a hybrid adeno-associated virus (AAV) from two related rhesus macaque isolates, called AAVrh32.33, and evaluated it as a vaccine carrier for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type A influenza virus antigens. The goal was to overcome the limitations of vaccines based on other AAVs, which generate dysfunctional T-cell responses and are inhibited by antibodies found in human sera. Injection of a Gag-expressing AAVrh32.33 vector into mice resulted in a high-quality CD8+ T-cell response. The resulting Gag-specific T cells express multiple cytokines at high levels, including interleukin-2, with many having memory phenotypes; a subsequent boost with an adenovirus vector yielded a brisk expansion of Gag-specific T cells. A priming dose of AAVrh32.33 led to high levels of Gag antibodies, which exceed levels found after injection of adenovirus vectors. Importantly, passive transfer of pooled human immunoglobulin into mice does not interfere with the efficacy of AAVrh32.33 expressing nucleoproteins from influenza virus, as measured by protection to a lethal dose of influenza virus, which is consistent with the very low seroprevalence to this virus in humans. Studies of macaques with vectors expressing gp140 from HIV-1 (i.e., with AAVrh32.33 as the prime and simian adenovirus type 24 as the boost) demonstrated results similar to those for mice with high-level and high-quality CD8+ T-cell responses to gp140 and high-titered neutralizing antibodies to homologous HIV-1. The biology of this novel AAV hybrid suggests that it should be a preferred genetic vaccine carrier, capable of generating robust T- and B-cell responses.
Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED) can result from mutations in matrilin-3, a structural protein of the cartilage extracellular matrix. We have previously shown that in a mouse model of MED the tibia growth plates were normal at birth but developed a progressive dysplasia characterised by the intracellular retention of mutant matrilin-3 and abnormal chondrocyte morphology. By 3 weeks of age, mutant mice displayed a significant decrease in chondrocyte proliferation and dysregulated apoptosis. The aim of this current study was to identify the initial post-natal stages of the disease. We confirmed that the disease phenotype is seen in rib and xiphoid cartilage and, like tibia growth plate cartilage is characterised by the intracellular retention of mutant matrilin-3. Gene expression profiling showed a significant activation of classical unfolded protein response (UPR) genes in mutant chondrocytes at 5 days of age, which was still maintained by 21 days of age. Interestingly, we also noted the upregulation of arginine-rich, mutated in early stage of tumours (ARMET) and cysteine-rich with EGF-like domain protein 2 (CRELD2) are two genes that have only recently been implicated in the UPR. This endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and UPR did not lead to increased chondrocyte apoptosis in mutant cartilage by 5 days of age. In an attempt to alleviate ER stress, mutant mice were fed with a chemical chaperone, 4-sodium phenylbutyrate (SPB). SPB at the dosage used had no effect on chaperone expression at 5 days of age but modestly decreased levels of chaperone proteins at 3 weeks. However, this did not lead to increased secretion of mutant matrilin-3 and in the long term did not improve the disease phenotype. We performed similar studies with a mouse model of Schmid metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, but again this treatment did not improve the phenotype.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12192-010-0193-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Matrilin-3; Chondrodysplasia; Mouse model; Unfolded protein response; Chemical chaperones; ARMET; CRELD2