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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 
 

Genetic incorporation of HSV-1 thymidine kinase into the adenovirus protein IX for functional display on the virion.

Adenoviral vectors have been exploited for a wide range of gene therapy applications. Direct genetic modification of the adenovirus capsid proteins has been employed to achieve alteration of vector tropism. We have defined the carboxy-terminus of the minor capsid protein pIX as a locus capable of presenting incorporated ligands on the virus capsid surface. Thus, we sought to exploit the possibility of incorporating functional proteins at pIX. In our current study, we incorporated the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) thymidine kinase (TK) within pIX to determine if a larger protein of this type could retain functionality in this context. Our study herein clearly demonstrates our ability to rescue viable adenoviral particles that display functional HSV-1 TK as a component of their capsid surface. DNA packaging and cytopathic effect were not affected by this genetic modification to the virus, while CAR-dependent binding was only marginally affected. Using an in vitro [3H]-thymidine phosphorylation assay, we demonstrated that the kinase activity of the protein IX-TK fusion protein incorporated into adenoviral virions is functional. Analysis of cell killing after adenovirus infection showed that the protein IX-TK fusion protein could also serve as a therapeutic gene by rendering transduced cells sensitive to gancyclovir. Using 9-[4-[18F]-fluoro-3-(hydroxymethyl)butyl]guanine ([18F]-FHBG; a positron-emitting TK substrate), we demonstrated that we could detect specific cell binding and uptake of adenoviral virions containing the protein IX-TK fusion protein at 1 h post-infection. Our study herein clearly demonstrates our ability to rescue viable adenoviral particles that display functional HSV-1 TK as a component of their capsid surface. The alternative display of HSV-1 TK on the capsid may offer advantages with respect to direct functional applications of this gene product. In addition, the determination of an expanded upper limit of incorporable proteins on pIX highlights its unique utility as a locus for placement of functional vector constructs.[1]

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