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Published May 2016 | public
Journal Article

Using Cre-Dependent In Vivo Selection to Identify AAV Variants That Enable Efficient and Widespread Gene Transfer to the Adult Central Nervous System


Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) are commonly used vehicles for in vivo gene transfer. However, the tropism repertoire of naturally occurring AAVs is limited, prompting the development of novel AAV capsids with more desirable transduction characteristics. We have developed a capsid selection method, called Cre-recombination-based AAV targeted evolution (CREATE), that enables the identification of AAV capsids that more efficiently transduce defined cell populations in vivo (Deverman et al. in press, Nature Biotechnology). We generated AAV capsid libraries and used CREATE to identify variants that cross the blood brain barrier and efficiently and widely transduce astrocytes in the mouse central nervous system (CNS) after intravenous injection. One variant, AAVPHP. B, transfers genes throughout the adult CNS with an efficiency that is 40- to 92-fold greater (depending on the CNS region) than that of the current standard, AAV9. It transduces the majority of astrocytes and neurons across multiple CNS regions, and in vitro, it transduces human neurons and astrocytes more efficiently than does AAV9. We are now evolving AAV-PHP.B for even greater transduction of specific CNS cell types as a means to both develop more effective vectors and to gain insight into the mechanism of enhanced transduction. Our identification of AAV-PHP.B and several other enhanced vectors after only two rounds of selection establishes CREATE as a powerful method to customize AAV vectors for biomedical applications.

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© 2016 The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

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