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Mol Ther. 2004 Feb;9(2):282-91.

Enhanced gene delivery by avidin-displaying baculovirus.

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A. I. Virtanen Institute, Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, FIN-70120 Kuopio, Finland.


Flexible alteration of virus surface properties would be beneficial for enhanced and targeted gene delivery. A useful approach could be based on a high-affinity receptor-ligand pair, such as avidin and biotin. In this study, we have constructed an avidin-displaying baculovirus, Baavi. Avidin display was expected to enhance cell transduction due to the high positive charge of avidin in physiological pH and to provide a binding site for covering the virus with desired biotinylated ligands. Successful incorporation of avidin on the virus envelope was detected by immunoblotting and electron microscopy. Multiple biotin-binding sites per virus were detected with fluorescence-correlation spectroscopy and tight biotin binding was observed using an optical biosensor, IAsys. Baavi showed a 5-fold increase in transduction efficiency in rat malignant glioma cells (BT4C) and a 26-fold increase in rabbit aortic smooth muscle (RAASMC) cells compared to wild-type baculovirus. Enhanced transduction was also observed with biotinylated target cells. Biotinylated epidermal growth factor (EGF) enabled specific targeting of the virus with high efficiency to EGF receptor-expressing (SKOV-3) cells. An additional advantage of the avidin display was demonstrated with biotinylated paramagnetic particles, which enabled magnetic targeting. Altogether, we show that avidin display is a rapid and versatile method to improve viral properties for gene delivery.

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