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J Control Release. 2013 Feb 28;166(1):75-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2012.10.023. Epub 2012 Dec 16.

Engineering polypeptide coatings to augment gene transduction and in vivo stability of adenoviruses.

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Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Control Release. 2013 Dec 28;172(3):1161.


We sought to modify adenoviral (Ad) particles by incorporating the advantageous characteristics of non-viral gene delivery vehicles to complement the viral vectors. α-Amino acid-N-carboxyanhydride chemistry was used to synthesize homopolypeptides and diblock copolypeptides that possess well-defined secondary structures. Using cryo-electron and fluorescence microscopy, we showed that these polypeptides can coat the surfaces of Ad particles in a non-covalent manner to modify their transduction properties. The coated Ad particles were found to bind to and be internalized by cells. In contrast to reports using covalently PEGylated Ad particles, we found that our physically coated Ad hybrid complexes facilitate gene transfer both in vitro and in vivo. We showed that our polypeptide coating was able to shield the Ad particles from the neutralizing effect of antibodies and mitigate the binding of blood coagulation factor (Factor X) in vitro. The coating also reduced the antigenicity of Ad in immunocompetent mice. The biodistribution of the systemically administered hybrid complexes mirrored the behavior of both viral and non-viral vectors, exhibiting liver tropism as well as enhanced lung transduction. These data demonstrated that our non-covalent modification was able to alter Ad's interactions with cells and organs with retention of transduction efficiency. Advantages such as facile coating of the Ad vector, design flexibility and ease of attaching ligands to the polypeptides make this system potentially useful as a platform for adding functionalities to Ad to target cancer metastasis.

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