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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jun 21;91(13):6196-200.

Ablation of E2A in recombinant adenoviruses improves transgene persistence and decreases inflammatory response in mouse liver.

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Institute for Human Gene Therapy, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia 19104-4268.


First-generation recombinant adenoviruses that lack E1 sequences have shown tremendous promise in animal and human models of gene therapy. Important limitations of these vectors are that recombinant gene expression is transient and inflammation occurs at the site of gene transfer. Our hypothesis for generating vectors with increased persistence is that present recombinant adenoviruses express viral proteins that stimulate cellular immune responses leading to destruction of the infected cells and repopulation of the organ with non-transgene-containing cells. This model predicts that further crippling of the virus will improve persistence and diminish pathology. We describe in this report second-generation recombinant adenoviruses harboring a beta-galactosidase-expressing transgene in which a temperature-sensitive mutation has been introduced into the E2A gene of an E1-deleted recombinant. At nonpermissive temperature, this virus fails to express late gene products, even when E1 is expressed in trans. The biology of this recombinant was studied in vivo in the context of mouse liver, a setting that is permissive for adenovirus type 5 replication. Animals that received the second-generation virus expressed the transgene for at least 70 days, whereas expression of the first-generation virus was no longer than 14 days. In addition, the inflammatory response, as measured by infiltration of CD8+ T cells, was blunted and delayed in livers infected with second-generation virus. These studies illustrate that modifications that disrupt structural protein expression in recombinant adenoviruses may be useful in enhancing their utility for gene therapy.

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