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Gene Ther. 2001 Aug;8(16):1248-54.

Self-complementary recombinant adeno-associated virus (scAAV) vectors promote efficient transduction independently of DNA synthesis.

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UNC Gene Therapy Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors package single-stranded genomes and require host-cell synthesis of the complementary strand for transduction. However, when the genome is half wild-type size, AAV can package either two copies, or dimeric inverted repeat DNA molecules. Dimeric, or self-complementary molecules (scAAV) should spontaneously reanneal, alleviating the requirement for host-cell DNA synthesis. We generated and characterized scAAV vectors in order to bypass the rate-limiting step of second-strand synthesis. In vitro, scAAV vectors were five- to 140-fold more efficient transducing agents than conventional rAAV, with a 5.9:1 particle to transducing unit ratio. This efficiency is neither greatly increased by co-infection with Ad, nor inhibited by hydroxyurea, demonstrating that transduction is independent of DNA synthesis. In vivo, scAAV expressing erythropoietin resulted in rapid and higher levels of hematocrit than a conventional single-stranded vector. These novel scAAV vectors represent a biochemical intermediate in rAAV transduction and should provide new insights into the biology of vector transduction.

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