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Mol Ther. 2010 Mar;18(3):570-8. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.292. Epub 2009 Dec 29.

Directed evolution of a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector that crosses the seizure-compromised blood-brain barrier (BBB).

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

Erratum in

  • Mol Ther. 2010 May;18(5):1054. Li, Wuping [added].


DNA shuffling and directed evolution were employed to develop a novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector capable of crossing the seizure-compromised blood-brain barrier (BBB) and transducing cells in the brain. Capsid DNA from AAV serotypes 1-6, 8, and 9 were shuffled and recombined to create a library of chimeric AAVs. One day after kainic acid-induced limbic seizure activity in rats, the virus library was infused intravenously (i.v.), and 3 days later, neuron-rich cells were mechanically dissociated from seizure-sensitive brain sites, collected and viral DNA extracted. After three cycles of selection, green fluorescent protein (GFP)-packaged clones were administered directly into brain or i.v. 1 day after kainic acid-induced seizures. Several clones that were effective after intracranial administration did not transduce brain cells after the i.v. administration. However, two clones (32 and 83) transduced the cells after direct brain infusion and after i.v. administration transduced the cells that were localized to the piriform cortex and ventral hippocampus, areas exhibiting a seizure-compromised BBB. No transduction occurred in areas devoid of BBB compromise. Only one parental serotype (AAV8) exhibited a similar expression profile, but the biodistribution of 32 and 83 diverged dramatically from this parental serotype. Thus, novel AAV vectors have been created that can selectively cross the seizure-compromised BBB and transduce cells.

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