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Gene Ther. 2007 Aug;14(15):1160-5. Epub 2007 May 17.

Fiber-modified adenovirus vectors containing the TAT peptide derived from HIV-1 in the fiber knob have efficient gene transfer activity.

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Laboratory of Gene Transfer and Regulation, National Institute of Biomedical Innovation, Osaka, Japan.


The interaction between viral capsid proteins and specific molecules exposed on the plasma membrane of the cells is involved in the viral tropism. A human adenovirus (Ad) belonging to subgroups A, C, D, E and F infects cells via the interaction between the fiber knob and the primary receptor, the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR). Conventional human adenovirus type 5 (hAd5) vectors show efficient transduction in CAR-positive cells; in contrast, hAd5 vector application is limited by poor transduction into cells lacking CAR expression. In the present study, to broaden the tropism of hAd5 vectors, we generated hAd5 vectors containing the TAT peptide, which is a protein transduction domain derived from human immunodeficiency virus, in the HI loop of the fiber knob (Ad-TAT(HI)-L2) or the C-terminus of the fiber knob (Ad-TAT(C)-L2). In CAR-negative adherent cells, Ad-TAT(HI)-L2 and Ad-TAT(C)-L2 showed approximately 50- to 500-fold higher gene expression than the conventional hAd5 vector (Ad-L2). Ad-TAT(HI)-L2 was also more efficient than Ad-L2 in blood cell lines and in two types of primary cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells, which are almost refractory to Ad-L2. Furthermore, Ad-TAT(HI)-L2 was more efficient than other types of fiber-modified Ad vectors, which harbor an RGD (Arg-Gly-Asp) or a poly-lysine (KKKKKKK;K7) peptide in the HI loop or the C-terminus of the fiber knob, respectively. Ad-TAT(HI)-L2 efficiently transduced the organs in levels and patterns that were roughly similar to those of Ad-L2 after being systemically injected into mice. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first report showing that hAd5 vectors containing the TAT peptide in the fiber knob could efficiently transduce cells independently of CAR. These Ad vectors should be useful for gene functional analysis and gene therapy.

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