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J Virol. 2010 Sep;84(17):8888-902. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00687-10. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Mutagenesis of adeno-associated virus type 2 capsid protein VP1 uncovers new roles for basic amino acids in trafficking and cell-specific transduction.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Gene Therapy Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7352, USA.

Abstract

The N termini of the capsid proteins VP1 and VP2 of adeno-associated virus (AAV) play important roles in subcellular steps of infection and contain motifs that are highly homologous to a phospholipase A(2) (PLA(2)) domain and nuclear localization signals (NLSs). To more clearly understand how virion components influence infection, we have generated mutations in these regions and examined their effects on subcellular trafficking, capsid stability, transduction, and sensitivity to pharmacological enhancement. All mutants tested assembled into capsids; retained the correct ratio of VP1, VP2, and VP3; packaged DNA similarly to recombinant AAV2 (rAAV2); and displayed similar stability profiles when heat denatured. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that these mutants trafficked through a perinuclear region in the vicinity of the Golgi apparatus, with a subset of mutants displaying more-diffuse localization consistent with an NLS-deficient phenotype. When tested for viral transduction, two mutant classes emerged. Class I (BR1(-), BR2(-), and BR2+K) displayed partial transduction, whereas class II (VP3 only, (75)HD/AN, BR3(-), and BR3+K) were severely defective. Surprisingly, one class II mutant (BR3+K) trafficked identically to rAAV2 and accumulated in the nucleolus, a step recently described by our laboratory that occurs with wild-type infection. The BR3+K mutant, containing an alanine-to-lysine substitution in the third basic region of VP1, was 10- to 100-fold-less infectious than rAAV2 in transformed cell lines (such as HEK-293, HeLa, and CV1-T cells), but in contrast, it was indistinguishable from rAAV2 in several nontransformed cell lines, as well as in tissues (liver, brain, and muscle) in vivo. Complementation studies with pharmacological adjuvants or adenovirus coinfection suggested that additional positive charges in NLS regions restrict mobilization in the nucleus and limit transduction in a transformed-cell-specific fashion. Remarkably, besides displaying cell-type-specific transduction, this is the first description of a capsid mutant indicating that nuclear entry is not sufficient for AAV-mediated transduction and suggests that additional steps (i.e., subnuclear mobilization or uncoating) limit successful AAV infection.

PMID:
20573820
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2918992
Free PMC Article
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