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Hum Gene Ther. 2014 Nov;25(11):929-41. doi: 10.1089/hum.2014.041. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Establishment of a novel cell line for the enhanced production of recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors for gene therapy.

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NIBSC/Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency , Hertfordshire EN6 3QG, United Kingdom .


Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors show great promise because of their excellent safety profile; however, pre-existing immune responses have necessitated the administration of high titer AAV, posing a significant challenge to the advancement of gene therapy involving AAV vectors. Recombinant AAV vectors contain minimum viral proteins necessary for their assembly and gene delivery functions. During the process of AAV assembly and production, AAV vectors acquire, inherently and submissively, various cellular proteins, but the identity of these proteins is poorly characterized. We reason that by identifying host cell proteins inherently associated with AAV vectors we may better understand the contribution of cellular components to AAV vector assembly and, ultimately, may improve the production of AAV vectors for gene therapy. In this study, three serotypes of recombinant AAV, namely AAV2, AAV5, and AAV8, were investigated. We used liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods to identify protein composition in purified AAV vectors, confirmed protein identities using western blotting, and explored the potential function of selected proteins in AAV vector production using small hairpin (shRNA) methods. Using LC-MS/MS, we identified 44 AAV-associated cellular proteins including Y-box binding protein (YB1). We showed for the first time that the establishment of a novel producer cell line by introducing an shRNA sequence down-regulating YB1 resulted in up to 45- and 9-fold increase in physical vector genome titers of AAV2 and AAV8, respectively, and up to 7-fold increase in AAV2 transduction vector genome titers. Our results revealed that YB1 gene knockdown promoted AAV2 rep expression and vector DNA production and reduced the number of empty particles in AAV2 products, suggesting that YB1 plays an important role in AAV vector assembly by competition with adenovirus E2A and AAV capsid proteins for binding to the inverted terminal repeat (ITR) sequence. The significance and implications of our findings in future improvement of AAV production are discussed.

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