Directed gene transfer into specific cell lineages in vivo is an attractive approach for both modulating gene expression and correcting inherited mutations such as emphysema caused by human α1 antitrypsin (hAAT) deficiency. However, somatic tissues are mainly comprised of heterogeneous, differentiated cell lineages that can be short lived and difficult to specifically transfect. Here, we describe an intratracheally instilled lentiviral system able to deliver genes selectively to as many as 70% of alveolar macrophages (AMs) in the mouse lung. Following a single in vivo lentiviral transduction, genetically tagged AMs persisted in lung alveoli and expressed transferred genes for the lifetime of the adult mouse. A prolonged macrophage lifespan, rather than precursor cell proliferation, accounted for the surprisingly sustained presence of transduced AMs. We utilized this long-lived population to achieve localized secretion of therapeutic levels of hAAT protein in lung epithelial lining fluid. In an established mouse model of emphysema, lentivirally delivered hAAT ameliorated the progression of emphysema, as evidenced by attenuation of increased lung compliance and alveolar size. After 24 weeks of sustained gene expression, no humoral or cellular immune responses to hAAT protein were detected. Our results challenge the dogma that AMs are short lived and suggest that these differentiated cells may be a possible target cell population for in vivo gene therapy applications, including the sustained correction of hAAT deficiency.
Andrew A. Wilson, George J. Murphy, Hiroshi Hamakawa, Letty W. Kwok, Sreedevi Srinivasan, Avi-Hai Hovav, Richard C. Mulligan, Salomon Amar, Bela Suki, Darrell N. Kotton
As most metabolic studies are conducted in male animals, understanding the sex specificity of the underlying molecular pathways has been broadly neglected; for example, whether PPARs elicit sex-dependent responses has not been determined. Here we show that in mice, PPARα has broad female-dependent repressive actions on hepatic genes involved in steroid metabolism and immunity. In male mice, this effect was reproduced by the administration of a synthetic PPARα ligand. Using the steroid oxysterol 7α-hydroxylase cytochrome P450 7b1 (Cyp7b1) gene as a model, we elucidated the molecular mechanism of this sex-specific PPARα-dependent repression. Initial sumoylation of the ligand-binding domain of PPARα triggered the interaction of PPARα with GA-binding protein α (GABPα) bound to the target Cyp7b1 promoter. Histone deacetylase and DNA and histone methylases were then recruited, and the adjacent Sp1-binding site and histones were methylated. These events resulted in loss of Sp1-stimulated expression and thus downregulation of Cyp7b1. Physiologically, this repression conferred on female mice protection against estrogen-induced intrahepatic cholestasis, the most common hepatic disease during pregnancy, suggesting a therapeutic target for prevention of this disease.
Nicolas Leuenberger, Sylvain Pradervand, Walter Wahli
Caveolae are invaginations of the plasma membrane involved in many cellular processes, including clathrin-independent endocytosis, cholesterol transport, and signal transduction. They are characterized by the presence of caveolin proteins. Mutations that cause deficiency in caveolin-3, which is expressed exclusively in skeletal and cardiac muscle, have been linked to muscular dystrophy. Polymerase I and transcript release factor (PTRF; also known as cavin) is a caveolar-associated protein suggested to play an essential role in the formation of caveolae and the stabilization of caveolins. Here, we identified PTRF mutations in 5 nonconsanguineous patients who presented with both generalized lipodystrophy and muscular dystrophy. Muscle hypertrophy, muscle mounding, mild metabolic complications, and elevated serum creatine kinase levels were observed in these patients. Skeletal muscle biopsies revealed chronic dystrophic changes, deficiency and mislocalization of all 3 caveolin family members, and reduction of caveolae structure. We generated expression constructs recapitulating the human mutations; upon overexpression in myoblasts, these mutations resulted in PTRF mislocalization and disrupted physical interaction with caveolins. Our data confirm that PTRF is essential for formation of caveolae and proper localization of caveolins in human cells and suggest that clinical features observed in the patients with PTRF mutations are associated with a secondary deficiency of caveolins.
Yukiko K. Hayashi, Chie Matsuda, Megumu Ogawa, Kanako Goto, Kayo Tominaga, Satomi Mitsuhashi, Young-Eun Park, Ikuya Nonaka, Naomi Hino-Fukuyo, Kazuhiro Haginoya, Hisashi Sugano, Ichizo Nishino
Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have been used widely for in vivo gene therapy. However, adaptive immune responses to AAV have posed a significant hurdle in clinical application of AAV vectors. Recent advances have suggested a crucial role for innate immunity in shaping adaptive immune responses. How AAV activates innate immunity, and thereby promotes AAV-targeted adaptive immune responses, remains unknown. Here we show that AAV activates mouse plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) via TLR9 to produce type I IFNs. In vivo, the TLR9-MyD88 pathway was crucial to the activation of CD8+ T cell responses to both the transgene product and the AAV capsid, leading to loss of transgene expression and the generation of transgene product–specific and AAV-neutralizing antibodies. We further demonstrate that TLR9-dependent activation of adaptive immunity targeting AAV was mediated by type I IFNs and that human pDCs could be activated in vitro to induce type I IFN production via TLR9. These results reveal an essential role for the TLR9-MyD88–type I IFN pathway in induction of adaptive immune responses to AAV and suggest that strategies that interfere with this pathway may improve the outcome of AAV-mediated gene therapy in humans.
Jiangao Zhu, Xiaopei Huang, Yiping Yang
Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron dysfunction occurs in a variety of sensory neuronopathies for which there are currently no satisfactory treatments. Here we describe the development of a strategy to target therapeutic genes to DRG neurons for the treatment of these disorders. We genetically modified an adenovirus (Ad) to generate a helper virus (HV) that was detargeted for native adenoviral tropism and contained DRG homing peptides in the adenoviral capsid fiber protein; we used this HV to generate DRG-targeted helper-dependent Ad (HDAd). In mice, intrathecal injection of this HDAd produced a 100-fold higher transduction of DRG neurons and a markedly attenuated inflammatory response compared with unmodified HDAd. We also injected HDAd encoding the β subunit of β-hexosaminidase (Hexb) into Hexb-deficient mice, a model of the neuronopathy Sandhoff disease. Delivery of the DRG-targeted HDAd reinstated neuron-specific Hexb production, reversed gangliosidosis, and ameliorated peripheral sensory dysfunction. The development of DRG neuron–targeted HDAd with proven efficacy in a preclinical model may have implications for the treatment of sensory neuronopathies of diverse etiologies.
Tomoya Terashima, Kazuhiro Oka, Angelika B. Kritz, Hideto Kojima, Andrew H. Baker, Lawrence Chan
Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells are a major endogenous source of Factor VIII (FVIII), lack of which causes the human congenital bleeding disorder hemophilia A. Despite extensive efforts, gene therapy using viral vectors has shown little success in clinical hemophilia trials. Here we achieved cell type–specific gene targeting using hyaluronan- and asialoorosomucoid-coated nanocapsules, generated using dispersion atomization, to direct genes to liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and hepatocytes, respectively. To highlight the therapeutic potential of this approach, we encapsulated Sleeping Beauty transposon expressing the B domain–deleted canine FVIII in cis with Sleeping Beauty transposase in hyaluronan nanocapsules and injected them intravenously into hemophilia A mice. The treated mice exhibited activated partial thromboplastin times that were comparable to those of wild-type mice at 5 and 50 weeks and substantially shorter than those of untreated controls at the same time points. Further, plasma FVIII activity in the treated hemophilia A mice was nearly identical to that in wild-type mice through 50 weeks, while untreated hemophilia A mice exhibited no detectable FVIII activity. Thus, Sleeping Beauty transposon targeted to liver sinusoidal endothelial cells provided long-term expression of FVIII, without apparent antibody formation, and improved the phenotype of hemophilia A mice.
Betsy T. Kren, Gretchen M. Unger, Lucas Sjeklocha, Alycia A. Trossen, Vicci Korman, Brenda M. Diethelm-Okita, Mark T. Reding, Clifford J. Steer
Major limitations to gene therapy using HSCs are low gene transfer efficiency and the inability of most therapeutic genes to confer a selective advantage on the gene-corrected cells. One approach to enrich for gene-modified cells in vivo is to include in the retroviral vector a drug resistance gene, such as the P140K mutant of the DNA repair enzyme O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT*). We transplanted 5 rhesus macaques with CD34+ cells transduced with lentiviral vectors encoding MGMT* and a fluorescent marker, with or without homeobox B4 (HOXB4), a potent stem cell self-renewal gene. Transgene expression and common integration sites in lymphoid and myeloid lineages several months after transplantation confirmed transduction of long-term repopulating HSCs. However, all animals showed only a transient increase in gene-marked lymphoid and myeloid cells after O6-benzylguanine (BG) and temozolomide (TMZ) administration. In 1 animal, cells transduced with MGMT* lentiviral vectors were protected and expanded after multiple courses of BG/TMZ, providing a substantial increase in the maximum tolerated dose of TMZ. Additional cycles of chemotherapy using 1,3-bis-(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) resulted in similar increases in gene marking levels, but caused high levels of nonhematopoietic toxicity. Inclusion of HOXB4 in the MGMT* vectors resulted in no substantial increase in gene marking or HSC amplification after chemotherapy treatment. Our data therefore suggest that lentivirally mediated gene transfer in transplanted HSCs can provide in vivo chemoprotection of progenitor cells, although selection of long-term repopulating HSCs was not seen.
Andre Larochelle, Uimook Choi, Yan Shou, Nora Naumann, Natalia A. Loktionova, Joshua R. Clevenger, Allen Krouse, Mark Metzger, Robert E. Donahue, Elizabeth Kang, Clinton Stewart, Derek Persons, Harry L. Malech, Cynthia E. Dunbar, Brian P. Sorrentino
Genetic variants of the SLC6A3 gene that encodes the human dopamine transporter (DAT) have been linked to a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In addition, the homozygous Slc6a3 knockout mouse displays a hyperactivity phenotype. Here, we analyzed 2 unrelated consanguineous families with infantile parkinsonism-dystonia (IPD) syndrome and identified homozygous missense SLC6A3 mutations (p.L368Q and p.P395L) in both families. Functional studies demonstrated that both mutations were loss-of-function mutations that severely reduced levels of mature (85-kDa) DAT while having a differential effect on the apparent binding affinity of dopamine. Thus, in humans, loss-of-function SLC6A3 mutations that impair DAT-mediated dopamine transport activity are associated with an early-onset complex movement disorder. Identification of the molecular basis of IPD suggests SLC6A3 as a candidate susceptibility gene for other movement disorders associated with parkinsonism and/or dystonic features.
Manju A. Kurian, Juan Zhen, Shu-Yuan Cheng, Yan Li, Santosh R. Mordekar, Philip Jardine, Neil V. Morgan, Esther Meyer, Louise Tee, Shanaz Pasha, Evangeline Wassmer, Simon J.R. Heales, Paul Gissen, Maarten E.A. Reith, Eamonn R. Maher
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are effective gene delivery vehicles mediating long-lasting transgene expression. Data from a clinical trial of AAV2-mediated hepatic transfer of the Factor IX gene (F9) into hemophilia B subjects suggests that CTL responses against AAV capsid can eliminate transduced hepatocytes and prevent long-term F9 expression. However, the capacity of hepatocytes to present AAV capsid–derived antigens has not been formally demonstrated, nor whether transduction by AAV sensitizes hepatocytes for CTL-mediated destruction. To investigate the fate of capsids after transduction, we engineered a soluble TCR for the detection of capsid-derived peptide:MHC I (pMHC) complexes. TCR multimers exhibited antigen and HLA specificity and possessed high binding affinity for cognate pMHC complexes. With this reagent, capsid pMHC complexes were detectable by confocal microscopy following AAV-mediated transduction of human hepatocytes. Although antigen presentation was modest, it was sufficient to flag transduced cells for CTL-mediated lysis in an in vitro killing assay. Destruction of hepatocytes was inhibited by soluble TCR, demonstrating a possible application for this reagent in blocking undesirable CTL responses. Together, these studies provide a mechanism for the loss of transgene expression and transient elevations in aminotransferases following AAV-mediated hepatic gene transfer in humans and a potential therapeutic intervention to abrogate these limitations imposed by the host T cell response.
Gary C. Pien, Etiena Basner-Tschakarjan, Daniel J. Hui, Ashley N. Mentlik, Jonathan D. Finn, Nicole C. Hasbrouck, Shangzhen Zhou, Samuel L. Murphy, Marcela V. Maus, Federico Mingozzi, Jordan S. Orange, Katherine A. High
γ-Retroviral vectors (γRVs), which are commonly used in gene therapy, can trigger oncogenesis by insertional mutagenesis. Here, we have dissected the contribution of vector design and viral integration site selection (ISS) to oncogenesis using an in vivo genotoxicity assay based on transplantation of vector-transduced tumor-prone mouse hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. By swapping genetic elements between γRV and lentiviral vectors (LVs), we have demonstrated that transcriptionally active long terminal repeats (LTRs) are major determinants of genotoxicity even when reconstituted in LVs and that self-inactivating (SIN) LTRs enhance the safety of γRVs. By comparing the genotoxicity of vectors with matched active LTRs, we were able to determine that substantially greater LV integration loads are required to approach the same oncogenic risk as γRVs. This difference in facilitating oncogenesis is likely to be explained by the observed preferential targeting of cancer genes by γRVs. This integration-site bias was intrinsic to γRVs, as it was also observed for SIN γRVs that lacked genotoxicity in our model. Our findings strongly support the use of SIN viral vector platforms and show that ISS can substantially modulate genotoxicity.
Eugenio Montini, Daniela Cesana, Manfred Schmidt, Francesca Sanvito, Cynthia C. Bartholomae, Marco Ranzani, Fabrizio Benedicenti, Lucia Sergi Sergi, Alessandro Ambrosi, Maurilio Ponzoni, Claudio Doglioni, Clelia Di Serio, Christof von Kalle, Luigi Naldini