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Christopher A. Reid, Kristina J. Ertel, Daniel M. Lipinski; Improvement of Photoreceptor Targeting via Intravitreal Delivery in Mouse and Human Retina Using Combinatory rAAV2 Capsid Mutant Vectors. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(14):6429-6439. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-22281.
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Effective intravitreal gene delivery to cells of the central retina (i.e., photoreceptors) would be of substantial benefit for treating patients with retinal diseases, such as achromatopsia, where retinal detachment from a subretinal may be harmful. Previous studies demonstrated that mutation of the recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) capsid through introduction of peptide insertions or amino acid substitutions dramatically alters vector tropism. Herein, we evaluate the photoreceptor transduction efficiency of three rAAV2/2-based capsid mutant vectors: rAAV2/2[7m8], rAAV2/2[QuadYF+TV], and a chimeric vector incorporating both mutations (termed rAAV2/2[MAX]) following intravitreal delivery in mice. Furthermore, we evaluate the transduction efficiency of rAAV2/2[MAX] using explanted human central retinal samples to address clinical translatability.
Vectors containing a GFP or mCherry reporter gene were intravitreally injected into C57BL/6J or Nrl-EGFP mice, respectively. Transduction was assessed in vivo utilizing a custom multiline confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope. Injected Nrl-EGFP mouse retinas were used to quantify transduced photoreceptors using flow cytometry. Postmortem human retinal tissue was cultured following administration of rAAV2/2[MAX]. C57BL/6J retinas and human explants were cryosectioned to determine vector tropism.
The chimeric vector rAAV2/2[MAX] transduced significantly higher proportions of the retina than did either single mutant serotypes following intravitreal delivery in murine retina, including inner retinal cells and photoreceptors. Vector rAAV2[MAX] demonstrated transduction of human photoreceptors and ganglion cells.
Transduction observed via rAAV2/2[MAX] indicates that combining mutations with complementary mechanisms of action in a single vector results in enhanced transduction. rAAV2/2[MAX] also presented the ability to transduce human photoreceptors and ganglion cells, indicating potential for efficient intravitreal vector delivery.
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