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J Virol. 2002 Dec;76(24):12775-82.

Construction and characterization of adenovirus serotype 5 packaged by serotype 3 hexon.

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Division of Human Gene Therapy, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) has great potential for gene therapy applications. A major limitation, however, is the host immune response against Ad5 infection that often prevents the readministration of Ad5 vectors. In this regard, the most abundant capsid protein, hexon, has been implicated as the major target for neutralizing antibodies. In this study, we sought to escape the host neutralization response against Ad5 via hexon replacement. We constructed a chimeric adenovirus vector, Ad5/H3, by replacing the Ad5 hexon gene with the hexon gene of Ad3. The chimeric viruses were successfully rescued in 293 cells. Compared to that for the control Ad5/H5, the growth rate of Ad5/H3 was significantly slower and the final yield was about 1 log order less. These data indicate that the Ad3 hexon can encapsidate the Ad5 genome, but with less efficiency than the Ad5 hexon. The gene transfer efficacy of Ad5/H3 in HeLa cells was also lower than that of Ad5/H5. Furthermore, we tested the host neutralization responses against the two viruses by using C57BL/6 mice. The neutralizing antibodies against Ad5/H3 and Ad5/H5 generated by the immunized mice did not cross-neutralize each other in the context of in vitro infection of HeLa cells. Preimmunization of C57BL/6 mice with one of the two types of viruses also did not prevent subsequent infection of the other type. These data suggest that replacing the Ad5 hexon with the Ad3 hexon can circumvent the host neutralization response to Ad5. This strategy may therefore be used to achieve the repeated administration of Ad5 in gene therapy applications.

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