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Hum Gene Ther Methods. 2014 Feb;25(1):33-9. doi: 10.1089/hgtb.2013.176. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

K137R mutation on adeno-associated viral capsids had minimal effect on enhancing gene delivery in vivo.

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1 Division of Molecular Pharmaceutics , Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , Chapel Hill, NC 27599.


The adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector has emerged as an attractive vector for gene therapy applications. Development of AAV vectors with enhanced gene transduction efficiency is important to ease the burden of AAV production and minimize potential immune responses. Rational mutations on AAV capsids have gained attention as a simple method of enhancing AAV transduction efficiency. A single-amino acid mutation, K137R, on AAV1 and AAV8 was recently reported to increase liver transgene expression by 5-10-fold. To determine whether the same mutation on other AAV serotypes would result in similar gene enhancement effects, K137R mutants were generated on AAV7, AAV8, and AAV9, and their effects were evaluated in vivo. Two reporter genes were utilized: the nuclear LacZ gene driven by the cytomegalovirus promoter and the luciferase gene driven by the CB promoter. Surprisingly, we found no difference in luciferase gene expression in the liver or other tissues using either the wild-type AAV8 capsid or AAV8-K137R. LacZ gene expression in the liver by AAV8-K137R was about onefold higher than that of wild-type AAV8. However, no difference was found in other tissues, such as skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle. In addition, no difference was found in transgene expression with either AAV7-K137R or AAV9-K137R mutants. Our results indicated that the K137R mutation on AAV7, AAV8, and AAV9 had minimal to no effect on transduction efficiency in vivo.

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