Newly observed mechanisms for viral entry, assembly, and exit are challenging our current understanding of the replication cycle of different viruses. To address and better understand these mechanisms, a Keystone Symposium was organized in the snowy mountains of Colorado ("The Ins and Outs of Viral Infection: Entry, Assembly, Exit, and Spread"; 30 March-4 April 2014, Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge, Colorado, organized by Karla Kirkegaard, Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, and Eric O. Freed). The meeting served to bring together cell biologists, structural biologists, geneticists, and scientists expert in viral pathogenesis to discuss emerging mechanisms of viral ins and outs. The conference was organized around different phases of the viral replication cycle, including cell entry, viral assembly and post-assembly maturation, virus structure, cell exit, and virus spread. This review aims to highlight important topics and themes that emerged during the conference.
Accurate mass analysis can provide useful information on the stoichiometry and composition of protein-based particles, such as virus-like assemblies. For applications in nanotechnology and medicine, such nanoparticles are loaded with foreign cargos, making accurate mass information essential to define the cargo load. Here, we describe modifications to an Orbitrap mass spectrometer that enable high mass analysis of several virus-like nanoparticles up to 4.5 MDa in mass. This allows the accurate determination of the composition of virus-like particles. The modified instrument is utilized to determine the cargo load of bacterial encapsulin nanoparticles that were engineered to encapsulate foreign cargo proteins. We find that encapsulin packages from 8 up to 12 cargo proteins, thereby quantifying cargo load but also showing the ensemble spread. In addition, we determined the previously unknown stoichiometry of the three different splice variants of the capsid protein in adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids, showing that symmetry is broken and assembly is heterogeneous and stochastic. These results demonstrate the potential of high-resolution mass analysis of protein-based nanoparticles, with widespread applications in chemical biology and nanotechnology.
We explored the unique signal integration properties of the self-assembling 60-mer protein capsid of adeno-associated virus (AAV), a clinically proven human gene therapy vector, by engineering proteolytic regulation of virus-receptor interactions such that processing of the capsid by proteases is required for infection. We find the transfer function of our engineered protease-activatable viruses (PAVs), relating the degree of proteolysis (input) to PAV activity (output), is highly nonlinear, likely due to increased polyvalency. By exploiting this dynamic polyvalency, in combination with the self-assembly properties of the virus capsid, we show that mosaic PAVs can be constructed that operate under a digital AND gate regime, where two different protease inputs are required for virus activation. These results show viruses can be engineered as signal-integrating nanoscale nodes whose functional properties are regulated by multiple proteolytic signals with easily tunable and predictable response surfaces, a promising development toward advanced control of gene delivery.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are proving to be remarkably successful for in vivo gene delivery. Based upon reports of abundant AAV in the human marrow, we tested CD34(+) hematopoietic stem cells for the presence of natural AAV. Here, we report for the first time, the presence of novel AAV variants in healthy CD34(+) human peripheral blood stem cells. The majority of healthy peripheral blood stem cell donors were found to harbor AAV in their CD34(+) cells. Every AAV isolated from CD34(+) cells mapped to AAV Clade F. Gene transfer vectors derived from these novel AAVs efficiently underwent entry and postentry processing in human cord blood stem cells and supported stable gene transfer into long-term, in vivo engrafting human HSCs significantly better than other serotypes. AAVHSC-transduced human CD34(+) cells engrafted in vivo and gave rise to differentiated transgene-expressing progeny. Importantly, gene-marked CD34(+) stem cells persisted long term in xenograft recipients, indicating transduction of primitive progenitors. Notably, correlation of structure with function permitted identification of potential capsid components important for HSC transduction. Thus, AAVHSCs represent a new class of genetic vectors for the manipulation of HSC genomes.
The Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) are being developed as gene delivery vectors for therapeutic clinical applications. However, the host antibody immune response directed against their capsid, prevalent in ?40-70% of the general population, depending on serotype, negatively impacts efficacy. AAVrh32.33, a novel vector developed from rhesus macaques isolates, has significantly lower seroprevalence in human populations compared to AAV2 and AAV8, which are both in clinical use. To better understand the capsid determinants of this differential immune response to AAVrh32.33, its structure was determined by X-ray crystallography to 3.5 Å resolution. The capsid viral protein (VP) structure conserves the eight-stranded ?-barrel core and ?A helix reported for other parvoviruses and the distinct capsid surface topology of the AAVs: a depression at the icosahedral twofold axis, three protrusions surrounding the threefold axis, and a depression surround a cylindrical channel at the fivefold axis. A comparison to AAV2, AAV4, and AAV8, to which AAVrh32.33 shares ?61%, ?81%, and ?63% identity, respectively, identified differences in previously defined AAV VP structurally variable regions (VR-1 to VR-IX) which function as receptor attachment, transduction efficiency, and/or antigenic determinants. This structure thus provides a 3D platform for capsid engineering in ongoing efforts to develop AAVrh32.33, as well as other AAV serotypes, for tissue targeted gene-therapy applications with vectors that can evade pre-existing antibody responses against the capsid. These features are required for full clinical realization of the promising AAV gene delivery system.
Methodologies to improve existing adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy include either rational approaches or directed evolution to derive capsid variants characterized by superior transduction efficiencies in targeted tissues. Here, we integrated both approaches in one unified design strategy of "virtual family shuffling" to derive a combinatorial capsid library whereby only variable regions on the surface of the capsid are modified. Individual sublibraries were first assembled in order to preselect compatible amino acid residues within restricted surface-exposed regions to minimize the generation of dead-end variants. Subsequently, the successful families were interbred to derive a combined library of ~8?×?10(5) complexity. Next-generation sequencing of the packaged viral DNA revealed capsid surface areas susceptible to directed evolution, thus providing guidance for future designs. We demonstrated the utility of the library by deriving an AAV2-based vector characterized by a 20-fold higher transduction efficiency in murine liver, now equivalent to that of AAV8.
Members of the Parvoviridae utilize glycan receptors for cellular attachment and subsequent interactions determine transduction efficiency or pathogenic outcome. This review focuses on the identity of the glycan receptors utilized, their capsid binding footprints, and a discussion of the overlap of these sites with tropism, transduction, and pathogenicity determinants. Despite high sequence diversity between the different genera, most parvoviruses bind to negatively charged glycans, such as sialic acid and heparan sulfate, abundant on cell surface membranes. The capsid structure of these viruses exhibit high structural homology enabling common regions to be utilized for glycan binding. At the same time the sequence diversity at the common footprints allows for binding of different glycans or differential binding of the same glycan.
The small single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) bacteriophages of the subfamily Gokushovirinae were traditionally perceived as narrowly targeted, niche-specific viruses infecting obligate parasitic bacteria, such as Chlamydia. The advent of metagenomics revealed gokushoviruses to be widespread in global environmental samples. This study expands knowledge of gokushovirus diversity in the environment by developing a degenerate PCR assay to amplify a portion of the major capsid protein (MCP) gene of gokushoviruses. Over 500 amplicons were sequenced from 10 environmental samples (sediments, sewage, seawater and freshwater), revealing the ubiquity and high diversity of this understudied phage group. Residue-level conservation data generated from multiple alignments was combined with a predicted 3D structure, revealing a tendency for structurally internal residues to be more highly conserved than surface-presenting protein-protein or viral-host interaction domains. Aggregating this data set into a phylogenetic framework, many gokushovirus MCP clades contained samples from multiple environments, although distinct clades dominated the different samples. Antarctic sediment samples contained the most diverse gokushovirus communities, whereas freshwater springs from Florida were the least diverse. Whether the observed diversity is being driven by environmental factors or host-binding interactions remains an open question. The high environmental diversity of this previously overlooked ssDNA viral group necessitates further research elucidating their natural hosts and exploring their ecological roles.
The recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) gene delivery system is entering a crucial and exciting phase with the promise of more than 20?years of intense research now realized in a number of successful human clinical trials. However, as a natural host to AAV infection, anti-AAV antibodies are prevalent in the human population. For example, ~70% of human sera samples are positive for AAV serotype 2 (AAV2). Furthermore, low levels of pre-existing neutralizing antibodies in the circulation are detrimental to the efficacy of corrective therapeutic AAV gene delivery. A key component to overcoming this obstacle is the identification of regions of the AAV capsid that participate in interactions with host immunity, especially neutralizing antibodies, to be modified for neutralization escape. Three main approaches have been utilized to map antigenic epitopes on AAV capsids. The first is directed evolution in which AAV variants are selected in the presence of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) or pooled human sera. This results in AAV variants with mutations on important neutralizing epitopes. The second is epitope searching, achieved by peptide scanning, peptide insertion, or site-directed mutagenesis. The third, a structure biology-based approach, utilizes cryo-electron microscopy and image reconstruction of AAV capsids complexed to fragment antibodies, which are generated from MAbs, to directly visualize the epitopes. In this review, the contribution of these three approaches to the current knowledge of AAV epitopes and success in their use to create second generation vectors will be discussed.
The recognition of sialic acids by two strains of minute virus of mice (MVM), MVMp (prototype) and MVMi (immunosuppressive), is an essential requirement for successful infection. To understand the potential for recognition of different modifications of sialic acid by MVM, three types of capsids, virus-like particles, wild type empty (no DNA) capsids, and DNA packaged virions, were screened on a sialylated glycan microarray (SGM). Both viruses demonstrated a preference for binding to 9-O-methylated sialic acid derivatives, while MVMp showed additional binding to 9-O-acetylated and 9-O-lactoylated sialic acid derivatives, indicating recognition differences. The glycans recognized contained a type-2 Gal?1-4GlcNAc motif (Neu5Ac?2-3Gal?1-4GlcNAc or 3'SIA-LN) and were biantennary complex-type N-glycans with the exception of one. To correlate the recognition of the 3'SIA-LN glycan motif as well as the biantennary structures to their natural expression in cell lines permissive for MVMp, MVMi, or both strains, the N- and O-glycans, and polar glycolipids present in three cell lines used for in vitro studies, A9 fibroblasts, EL4 T lymphocytes, and the SV40 transformed NB324K cells, were analyzed by MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. The cells showed an abundance of the sialylated glycan motifs recognized by the viruses in the SGM and previous glycan microarrays supporting their role in cellular recognition by MVM. Significantly, the NB324K showed fucosylation at the non-reducing end of their biantennary glycans, suggesting that recognition of these cells is possibly mediated by the Lewis X motif as in 3'SIA-Le(X) identified in a previous glycan microarray screen.
A group of four interacting amino acids in adeno-associated virus type 8 (AAV8) called the pH quartet has been shown to undergo a structural change when subjected to acidic pH comparable to that seen in endosomal compartments. We examined the phenotypes of mutants with mutations in these amino acids as well as several nearby residues in the background of AAV2. We found that three of the mutations in this region (Y704A, E562A, and E564A) produce normal titers of mature capsids but are extremely defective for transduction (>10(7)-fold). The remaining mutants were also defective for transduction, but the defect in these mutants (E563A, E561A, H526A, and R389A) is not as severe (3- to 22-fold). Two other mutants (Y700A and Y730A) were found to be defective for virus assembly. One of the extremely defective mutants (Y704A) was found to enter the cell, traffic to the nucleus, and uncoat its DNA nearly as efficiently as the wild type. This suggested that some step after nuclear entry and uncoating was defective. To see if the extremely defective mutants were impaired in second-strand synthesis, the Y704A, E562A, and E564A mutants containing self-complementary DNA were compared with virus containing single-stranded genomes. Two of the mutants (Y704A and E564A) showed 1-log and 3-log improvements in infectivity, respectively, while the third mutant (E562A) showed no change. This suggested that inhibition of second-strand synthesis was responsible for some but not most of the defect in these mutants. Comparison of Y704A mRNA synthesis with that of the wild-type capsid showed that accumulation of steady-state mRNA in the Y704A mutant was reduced 450-fold, even though equal genome numbers were uncoated. Our experiments have identified a novel capsid function. They suggest that AAV capsids may play a role in the initiation of both second-strand synthesis and transcription of the input genome.
Icosahedral viral capsids are obligated to perform a thermodynamic balancing act. Capsids must be stable enough to protect the genome until a suitable host cell is encountered yet be poised to bind receptor, initiate cell entry, navigate the cellular milieu, and release their genome in the appropriate replication compartment. In this study, serotypes of adeno-associated virus (AAV), AAV1, AAV2, AAV5, and AAV8, were compared with respect to the physical properties of their capsids that influence thermodynamic stability. Thermal stability measurements using differential scanning fluorimetry, differential scanning calorimetry, and electron microscopy showed that capsid melting temperatures differed by more than 20°C between the least and most stable serotypes, AAV2 and AAV5, respectively. Limited proteolysis and peptide mass mapping of intact particles were used to investigate capsid protein dynamics. Active hot spots mapped to the region surrounding the 3-fold axis of symmetry for all serotypes. Cleavages also mapped to the unique region of VP1 which contains a phospholipase domain, indicating transient exposure on the surface of the capsid. Data on the biophysical properties of the different AAV serotypes are important for understanding cellular trafficking and is critical to their production, storage, and use for gene therapy. The distinct differences reported here provide direction for future studies on entry and vector production.
A set of proposals to rationalize and extend the taxonomy of the family Parvoviridae is currently under review by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). Viruses in this family infect a wide range of hosts, as reflected by the longstanding division into two subfamilies: the Parvovirinae, which contains viruses that infect vertebrate hosts, and the Densovirinae, encompassing viruses that infect arthropod hosts. Using a modified definition for classification into the family that no longer demands isolation as long as the biological context is strong, but does require a near-complete DNA sequence, 134 new viruses and virus variants were identified. The proposals introduce new species and genera into both subfamilies, resolve one misclassified species, and improve taxonomic clarity by employing a series of systematic changes. These include identifying a precise level of sequence similarity required for viruses to belong to the same genus and decreasing the level of sequence similarity required for viruses to belong to the same species. These steps will facilitate recognition of the major phylogenetic branches within genera and eliminate the confusion caused by the near-identity of species and viruses. Changes to taxon nomenclature will establish numbered, non-Latinized binomial names for species, indicating genus affiliation and host range rather than recapitulating virus names. Also, affixes will be included in the names of genera to clarify subfamily affiliation and reduce the ambiguity that results from the vernacular use of "parvovirus" and "densovirus" to denote multiple taxon levels.
New viral strains can be evolved to recognize different host glycans through mutagenesis and experimental adaptation. However, such mutants generally harbor amino acid changes that affect viral binding to a single class of carbohydrate receptors. We describe the rational design and synthesis of novel, chimeric adeno-associated virus (AAV) strains that exploit an orthogonal glycan receptor for transduction. A dual glycan-binding AAV strain was first engineered as proof of concept by grafting a galactose (Gal)-binding footprint from AAV serotype 9 onto the heparan sulfate-binding AAV serotype 2. The resulting chimera, AAV2G9, continues to bind heparin affinity columns but interchangeably exploits Gal and heparan sulfate receptors for infection, as evidenced by competitive inhibition assays with lectins, glycans, and parental AAV strains. Although remaining hepatotropic like AAV2, the AAV2G9 chimera mediates rapid onset and higher transgene expression in mice. Similarly, engraftment of the Gal footprint onto the laboratory-derived strain AAV2i8 yielded an enhanced AAV2i8G9 chimera. This new strain remains liver-detargeted like AAV2i8 while selectively transducing muscle tissues at high efficiency, comparable with AAV9. The AAV2i8G9 chimera is a promising vector candidate for targeted gene therapy of cardiac and musculoskeletal diseases. In addition to demonstrating the modularity of glycan receptor footprints on viral capsids, our approach provides design strategies to expand the AAV vector toolkit.
The adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) display differential cell binding, transduction, and antigenic characteristics specified by their capsid viral protein (VP) composition. Toward structure-function annotation, the crystal structure of AAV5, one of the most sequence diverse AAV serotypes, was determined to 3.45-? resolution. The AAV5 VP and capsid conserve topological features previously described for other AAVs but uniquely differ in the surface-exposed HI loop between ?H and ?I of the core ?-barrel motif and have pronounced conformational differences in two of the AAV surface variable regions (VRs), VR-IV and VR-VII. The HI loop is structurally conserved in other AAVs despite amino acid differences but is smaller in AAV5 due to an amino acid deletion. This HI loop is adjacent to VR-VII, which is largest in AAV5. The VR-IV, which forms the larger outermost finger-like loop contributing to the protrusions surrounding the icosahedral 3-fold axes of the AAVs, is shorter in AAV5, creating a smoother capsid surface topology. The HI loop plays a role in AAV capsid assembly and genome packaging, and VR-IV and VR-VII are associated with transduction and antigenic differences, respectively, between the AAVs. A comparison of interior capsid surface charge and volume of AAV5 to AAV2 and AAV4 showed a higher propensity of acidic residues but similar volumes, consistent with comparable DNA packaging capacities. This structure provided a three-dimensional (3D) template for functional annotation of the AAV5 capsid with respect to regions that confer assembly efficiency, dictate cellular transduction phenotypes, and control antigenicity.
The ?5?1 integrin heterodimer is involved in many cellular processes and is an anti-cancer therapeutic target. Therefore, access to quantities of protein suitable for studies aimed at understanding its biological functions is important. To this end, a large-scale protein expression system, utilizing the recombinant baculovirus/SF9 insect cell expression system, was created to produce the extracellular domain of the ?5?1 integrin. An incorporated 8X-histidine tag enabled one-step nickel-column purification. Following sequence confirmation by LC-MS/MS, the conformation of the heterodimer was characterized by native dot blot and negative stain electron microscopy. Cellular transduction inhibition studies confirmed biological activity. The system allows expression and purification of ?5?1 integrin in quantities suitable for an array of different experiments including structural biology.
Interactions between viruses and the host antibody immune response are critical in the development and control of disease, and antibodies are also known to interfere with the efficacy of viral vector-based gene delivery. The adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) being developed as vectors for corrective human gene delivery have shown promise in clinical trials, but preexisting antibodies are detrimental to successful outcomes. However, the antigenic epitopes on AAV capsids remain poorly characterized. Cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction were used to define the locations of epitopes to which monoclonal fragment antibodies (Fabs) against AAV1, AAV2, AAV5, and AAV6 bind. Pseudoatomic modeling showed that, in each serotype, Fabs bound to a limited number of sites near the protrusions surrounding the 3-fold axes of the T=1 icosahedral capsids. For the closely related AAV1 and AAV6, a common Fab exhibited substoichiometric binding, with one Fab bound, on average, between two of the three protrusions as a consequence of steric crowding. The other AAV Fabs saturated the capsid and bound to the walls of all 60 protrusions, with the footprint for the AAV5 antibody extending toward the 5-fold axis. The angle of incidence for each bound Fab on the AAVs varied and resulted in significant differences in how much of each viral capsid surface was occluded beyond the Fab footprints. The AAV-antibody interactions showed a common set of footprints that overlapped some known receptor-binding sites and transduction determinants, thus suggesting potential mechanisms for virus neutralization by the antibodies.
Avoiding activation of immunity to vector-encoded proteins is critical to the safe and effective use of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for gene therapy. While commonly used serotypes, such as AAV serotypes 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9, are often associated with minimal and/or dysfunctional CD8(+) T cell responses in mice, the threshold for immune activation appears to be lower in higher-order species. We have modeled this discrepancy within the mouse by identifying two capsid variants with differential immune activation profiles: AAV serotype 8 (AAV8) and a hybrid between natural rhesus isolates AAVrh32 and AAVrh33 (AAVrh32.33). Here, we aimed to characterize the structural determinants of the AAVrh32.33 capsid that augment cellular immunity to vector-encoded proteins or those of AAV8 that may induce tolerance. We hypothesized that the structural domain responsible for differential immune activation could be mapped to surface-exposed regions of the capsid, such as hypervariable regions (HVRs) I to IX of VP3. To test this, a series of hybrid AAV capsids was constructed by swapping domains between AAV8 and AAVrh32.33. By comparing their ability to generate transgene-specific T cells in vivo versus the stability of transgene expression in the muscle, we confirmed that the functional domain lies within the VP3 portion of the capsid. Our studies were able to exclude the regions of VP3 which are not sufficient for augmenting the cellular immune response, notably, HVRs I, II, and V. We have also identified HVR IV as a region of interest in conferring the efficiency and stability of muscle transduction to AAVrh32.33.
The structure of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) packaging H-1 parvovirus (H-1PV), which is being developed as an antitumor gene delivery vector, has been determined for wild-type (wt) virions and noninfectious (empty) capsids to 2.7- and 3.2-Å resolution, respectively, using X-ray crystallography. The capsid viral protein (VP) structure consists of an ?-helix and an eight-stranded anti-parallel ?-barrel with large loop regions between the strands. The ?-barrel and loops form the capsid core and surface, respectively. In the wt structure, 600 nucleotides are ordered in an interior DNA binding pocket of the capsid. This accounts for ?12% of the H-1PV genome. The wt structure is identical to the empty capsid structure, except for side chain conformation variations at the nucleotide binding pocket. Comparison of the H-1PV nucleotides to those observed in canine parvovirus and minute virus of mice, two members of the genus Parvovirus, showed both similarity in structure and analogous interactions. This observation suggests a functional role, such as in capsid stability and/or ssDNA genome recognition for encapsulation. The VP structure differs from those of other parvoviruses in surface loop regions that control receptor binding, tissue tropism, pathogenicity, and antibody recognition, including VP sequences reported to determine tumor cell tropism for oncotropic rodent parvoviruses. These structures of H-1PV provide insight into structural features that dictate capsid stabilization following genome packaging and three-dimensional information applicable for rational design of tumor-targeted recombinant gene delivery vectors.
The importance of the phospholipase A2 domain located within the unique N terminus of the capsid viral protein VP1 (VP1u) in parvovirus infection has been reported. This study used computational methods to characterize the VP1 sequence for adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotypes 1 to 12 and circular dichroism and electron microscopy to monitor conformational changes in the AAV1 capsid induced by temperature and the pHs encountered during trafficking through the endocytic pathway. Circular dichroism was also used to monitor conformational changes in AAV6 capsids assembled from VP2 and VP3 or VP1, VP2, and VP3 at pH 7.5. VP1u was predicted (computationally) and confirmed (in solution) to be structurally ordered. This VP domain was observed to undergo a reversible pH-induced unfolding/refolding process, a loss/gain of ?-helical structure, which did not disrupt the capsid integrity and is likely facilitated by its difference in isoelectric point compared to the other VP sequences assembling the capsid. This study is the first to physically document conformational changes in the VP1u region that likely facilitate its externalization from the capsid interior during infection and establishes the order of events in the escape of the AAV capsid from the endosome en route to the nucleus.
The ubiquitin-proteasome pathway plays a critical role in the intracellular trafficking of AAV2 vectors, and phosphorylation of certain surface-exposed amino acid residues on the capsid provides the primary signal for ubiquitination. Removal of several critical tyrosine (Y) and serine (S) residues on the AAV2 capsid has been shown to significantly increase transduction efficiency compared with the wild-type (WT) vectors. In the present study, site-directed mutagenesis of each of the 17 surface-exposed threonine (T) residues was conducted, and the transduction efficiency of four of these mutants, T455V, T491V, T550V, and T659V, was observed to increase up to 4-fold in human HEK293 cells in vitro. The most critical Y, S, and T mutations were subsequently combined, and the quadruple-mutant (Y444+500+730F+T491V) AAV2 vector was identified as the most efficient. This vector increased the transduction efficiency ?24-fold over the WT AAV2 vector, and ?2-3-fold over the previously described triple-mutant (Y444+500+730F) vector in a murine hepatocyte cell line, H2.35, in vitro. Similar results were obtained in murine hepatocytes in vivo following tail vein injection of the Y444+500+730F+T491V scAAV2 vector, and whole-body bioluminescence imaging of C57BL/6 mice. The increase in the transduction efficiency of the Y-T quadruple-mutant over that of the Y triple-mutant correlated with an improved nuclear translocation of the vectors, which exceeded 90%. These observations suggest that further optimization of the AAV2 capsid by targeting amino acid residues involved in phosphorylation may not be possible. This study has thus led to the generation of a novel Y444+500+730F+T491V quadruple-mutant AAV2 vector with potential for use in liver-directed human gene therapy.
A recombinant integrin expression system has been created for the large-scale production of ?V?5 integrin extracellular domains that take advantage of Fos and Jun dimerization for expression in bacterial, insect, and mammalian cells. This utilizes an all-in-one vector, pQE-TriSystem, with molecular machinery for parallel expression without the need of additional subcloning. Optimal expression in HEK293 cells was determined by a time course analysis. The heterodimer was purified in a one-step nickel column purification scheme, and the sequence and functional state were confirmed by mass spectrometry and inhibition assays, respectively. The yields of ?V?5 integrin obtained are in quantities suitable for multiple applications including structural biology and functional assays.
AAV vectors have shown great promise for clinical gene therapy (GT), but pre-existing human immunity against the AAV capsid often limits transduction. Thus, testing promising AAV-based GT approaches in an animal model with similar pre-existing immunity could better predict clinical outcome. Sheep have long been used for basic biological and preclinical studies. Moreover, we have re-established a line of sheep with severe hemophilia A (HA). Given the impetus to use AAV-based GT to treat hemophilia, we characterized the pre-existing ovine humoral immunity to AAV. ELISA revealed naturally-occurring antibodies to AAV1, AAV2, AAV5, AAV6, AAV8, and AAV9. For AAV2, AAV8, and AAV9 these inhibit transduction in a luciferase-based neutralization assay. Epitope mapping identified peptides that were common to the capsids of all AAV serotypes tested (AAV2, AAV5, AAV8 and AAV9), with each animal harboring antibodies to unique and common capsid epitopes. Mapping using X-ray crystallographic AAV capsid structures demonstrated that these antibodies recognized both surface epitopes and epitopes located within regions of the capsid that are internal or buried in the capsid structure. These results suggest that sheep harbor endogenous AAV, which induces immunity to both intact capsid and to capsid epitopes presented following proteolysis during the course of infection. In conclusion, their clinically relevant physiology and the presence of naturally-occurring antibodies to multiple AAV serotypes collectively make sheep a unique model in which to study GT for HA, and other diseases, and develop strategies to circumvent the clinically important barrier of pre-existing AAV immunity.
Development of viral vectors capable of transducing photoreceptors by less invasive methods than subretinal injection would provide a major advancement in retinal gene therapy. We sought to develop novel AAV vectors optimized for photoreceptor transduction following intravitreal delivery and to develop methodology for quantifying this transduction in vivo. Surface exposed tyrosine (Y) and threonine (T) residues on the capsids of AAV2, AAV5 and AAV8 were changed to phenylalanine (F) and valine (V), respectively. Transduction efficiencies of self-complimentary, capsid-mutant and unmodified AAV vectors containing the smCBA promoter and mCherry cDNA were initially scored in vitro using a cone photoreceptor cell line. Capsid mutants exhibiting the highest transduction efficiencies relative to unmodified vectors were then injected intravitreally into transgenic mice constitutively expressing a Rhodopsin-GFP fusion protein in rod photoreceptors (Rho-GFP mice). Photoreceptor transduction was quantified by fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) by counting cells positive for both GFP and mCherry. To explore the utility of the capsid mutants, standard, (non-self-complementary) AAV vectors containing the human rhodopsin kinase promoter (hGRK1) were made. Vectors were intravitreally injected in wildtype mice to assess whether efficient expression exclusive to photoreceptors was achievable. To restrict off-target expression in cells of the inner and middle retina, subsequent vectors incorporated multiple target sequences for miR181, an miRNA endogenously expressed in the inner and middle retina. Results showed that AAV2 containing four Y to F mutations combined with a single T to V mutation (quadY-F+T-V) transduced photoreceptors most efficiently. Robust photoreceptor expression was mediated by AAV2(quadY-F+T-V) -hGRK1-GFP. Observed off-target expression was reduced by incorporating target sequence for a miRNA highly expressed in inner/middle retina, miR181c. Thus we have identified a novel AAV vector capable of transducing photoreceptors following intravitreal delivery to mouse. Furthermore, we describe a robust methodology for quantifying photoreceptor transduction from intravitreally delivered AAV vectors.
Neutralizing antibodies play a central role in the prevention and clearance of viral infections, but can be detrimental to the use of viral capsids for gene delivery. Antibodies present a major hurdle for ongoing clinical trials using adeno-associated viruses (AAVs); however, relatively little is known about the antigenic epitopes of most AAV serotypes or the mechanism(s) of antibody-mediated neutralization. We developed panels of AAV mAbs by repeatedly immunizing mice with AAV serotype 1 (AAV1) capsids, or by sequentially immunizing with AAV1 followed by AAV5 capsids, in order to examine the efficiency and mechanisms of antibody-mediated neutralization. The antibodies were not cross-reactive between heterologous AAV serotypes except for a low level of recognition of AAV1 capsids by the AAV5 antibodies, probably due to the initial immunization with AAV1. The neutralization efficiency of different IgGs varied and Fab fragments derived from these antibodies were generally poorly neutralizing. The antibodies appeared to display various alternative mechanisms of neutralization, which included inhibition of receptor-binding and interference with a post-attachment step.
Efficient and widespread gene transfer is required for successful treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Here, we performed the first clinical trial using a chimeric adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid variant (designated AAV2.5) derived from a rational design strategy. AAV2.5 was generated from the AAV2 capsid with five mutations from AAV1. The novel chimeric vector combines the improved muscle transduction capacity of AAV1 with reduced antigenic crossreactivity against both parental serotypes, while keeping the AAV2 receptor binding. In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled phase I clinical study in DMD boys, AAV2.5 vector was injected into the bicep muscle in one arm, with saline control in the contralateral arm. A subset of patients received AAV empty capsid instead of saline in an effort to distinguish an immune response to vector versus minidystrophin transgene. Recombinant AAV genomes were detected in all patients with up to 2.56 vector copies per diploid genome. There was no cellular immune response to AAV2.5 capsid. This trial established that rationally designed AAV2.5 vector was safe and well tolerated, lays the foundation of customizing AAV vectors that best suit the clinical objective (e.g., limb infusion gene delivery) and should usher in the next generation of viral delivery systems for human gene transfer.
The Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) are not associated with any diseases, and their ability to package non-genomic DNA and to transduce different cell/tissue populations has generated significant interest in understanding their basic biology in efforts to improve their utilization for corrective gene delivery. This includes their capsid structure, cellular tropism and interactions for entry, uncoating, replication, DNA packaging, capsid assembly, and antibody neutralization. The human and nonhuman primate AAVs are clustered into serologically distinct genetic clade and serotype groups, which have distinct cellular/tissue tropisms and transduction efficiencies. These properties are highly dependent upon the AAV capsid amino acid sequence, their capsid structure, and their interactions with host cell factors, including cell surface receptors, co-receptors, signaling molecules, proteins involved in host DNA replication, and host-derived antibodies. This chapter reviews the current structural information on AAV capsids and the capsid viral protein regions playing a role in the cellular interactions conferring an infective phenotype, which are then used to annotate the functional regions of the capsid. Based on the current data, the indication is that the AAVs, like other members of the Parvoviridae and other ssDNA viruses that form a T = 1 capsid, have evolved a multifunctional capsid with conserved core regions as is required for efficient capsid trafficking, capsid assembly, and genome packaging. Disparate surface loop structures confer differential receptor recognition and are involved in antibody recognition. The role of structural regions in capsid uncoating remains to be elucidated.
The single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) parvoviruses enter host cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis, and infection depends on processing in the early to late endosome as well as in the lysosome prior to nuclear entry for replication. However, the mechanisms of capsid endosomal processing, including the effects of low pH, are poorly understood. To gain insight into the structural transitions required for this essential step in infection, the crystal structures of empty and green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene-packaged adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) have been determined at pH values of 6.0, 5.5, and 4.0 and then at pH 7.5 after incubation at pH 4.0, mimicking the conditions encountered during endocytic trafficking. While the capsid viral protein (VP) topologies of all the structures were similar, significant amino acid side chain conformational rearrangements were observed on (i) the interior surface of the capsid under the icosahedral 3-fold axis near ordered nucleic acid density that was lost concomitant with the conformational change as pH was reduced and (ii) the exterior capsid surface close to the icosahedral 2-fold depression. The 3-fold change is consistent with DNA release from an ordering interaction on the inside surface of the capsid at low pH values and suggests transitions that likely trigger the capsid for genome uncoating. The surface change results in disruption of VP-VP interface interactions and a decrease in buried surface area between VP monomers. This disruption points to capsid destabilization which may (i) release VP1 amino acids for its phospholipase A2 function for endosomal escape and nuclear localization signals for nuclear targeting and (ii) trigger genome uncoating.
Mycoplasma genitalium is one of the smallest organisms capable of self-replication and its sequence is considered a starting point for understanding the minimal genome required for life. MG289, a putative phosphonate substrate binding protein, is considered to be one of these essential genes. The crystal structure of MG289 has been solved at 1.95 Å resolution. The structurally identified thiamine binding region reveals possible mechanisms for ligand promiscuity. MG289 was determined to be an extracytoplasmic thiamine binding lipoprotein. Computational analysis, size exclusion chromatography, and small angle X-ray scattering indicates that MG289 homodimerizes in a concentration-dependant manner. Comparisons to the thiamine pyrophosphate binding homolog Cypl reveal insights into the metabolic differences between mycoplasmal species including identifying possible kinases for cofactor phosphorylation and describing the mechanism of thiamine transport into the cell. These results provide a baseline to build our understanding of the minimal metabolic requirements of a living organism.
We report the generation of a new class of adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9)-derived vectors displaying selective loss of liver tropism and demonstrating potential for cardiac and musculoskeletal gene transfer applications. Random mutagenesis of residues within a surface-exposed region of the major AAV9 capsid protein yielded a capsid library with mutations clustered at the icosahedral threefold symmetry axis. Using a combination of sequence analysis, structural models, and in vivo screening, we identified several functionally diverse AAV9 variants. The latter were classified into three functional subgroups, with respect to parental AAV9 displaying: (i) decreased transduction efficiency across multiple tissues; (ii) a selective decrease in liver transduction, or (iii) a similar transduction profile. Notably, variants 9.45 and 9.61 (subgroup II) displayed 10- to 25-fold lower gene transfer efficiency in liver, while transducing cardiac and skeletal muscle as efficiently as AAV9. These results were further corroborated by quantitation of vector genome copies and histological analysis of reporter (tdTomato) gene expression. The study highlights the feasibility of generating AAV vectors with selectively ablated tissue tropism, which when combined with other targeting strategies could allow sharply segregated gene expression. Liver-detargeted AAV9 variants described herein are excellent candidates for preclinical evaluation in animal models of cardiac and musculoskeletal disease.
Vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 9 are candidates for in vivo gene delivery to many organs, but the receptor(s) mediating these tropisms have yet to be defined. We evaluated AAV9 uptake by glycans with terminal sialic acids (SAs), a common mode of cellular entry for viruses. We found, however, that AAV9 binding increased when terminal SA was enzymatically removed, suggesting that galactose, which is the most commonly observed penultimate monosaccharide to SA, may mediate AAV9 transduction. This was confirmed in mutant CHO Pro-5 cells deficient in the enzymes involved in glycoprotein biogenesis, as well as lectin interference studies. Binding of AAV9 to glycans with terminal galactose was demonstrated via glycan binding assays. Co-instillation of AAV9 vector with neuraminidase into mouse lung resulted in exposure of terminal galactose on the apical surface of conducting airway epithelial cells, as shown by lectin binding and increased transduction of these cells, demonstrating the possible utility of this vector in lung-directed gene transfer. Increasing the abundance of the receptor on target cells and improving vector efficacy may improve delivery of AAV vectors to their therapeutic targets.
Vectors based on adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2) have been used extensively in many gene-delivery applications, including several successful clinical trials for one type of Leber congenital amaurosis in the retina. Many studies have focused on improving AAV2 transduction efficiency and cellular specificity by genetically engineering its capsid. We have previously shown that vectors-containing single-point mutations of capsid surface tyrosines in serotypes AAV2, AAV8, and AAV9 displayed significantly increased transduction efficiency in the retina compared with their wild-type counterparts. In the present study, we evaluated the transduction characteristics of AAV2 vectors containing combinations of multiple tyrosine to phenylalanine mutations in seven highly conserved surface-exposed capsid tyrosine residues following subretinal or intravitreal delivery in adult mice. The multiply mutated vectors exhibited different in vivo transduction properties, with some having a unique ability of transgene expression in all retinal layers. Such novel vectors may be useful in developing valuable new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of many genetic diseases.
Thioxolone acts as a prodrug in the presence of carbonic anhydrase II (CA II), whereby the molecule is cleaved by thioester hydrolysis to the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, 4-mercaptobenzene-1,3-diol (TH0). Thioxolone was soaked into the proton transfer mutant H64A of CA II in an effort to capture a reaction intermediate via X-ray crystallography. Structure determination of the 1.2 Å resolution data revealed the TH0 had been modified to a 4,4-disulfanediyldibenzene-1,3-diol, a product of crystallization conditions, and a zinc ligated 2,4-dihydroxybenzenesulfenic acid, most likely induced by radiation damage. Neither ligand was likely a result of an enzymatic mechanism.
The three-dimensional structure of adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 6 (AAV6) was determined using cryo-electron microscopy and image reconstruction and using X-ray crystallography to 9.7- and 3.0-Å resolution, respectively. The AAV6 capsid contains a highly conserved, eight-stranded (?B to ?I) ?-barrel core and large loop regions between the strands which form the capsid surface, as observed in other AAV structures. The loops show conformational variation compared to other AAVs, consistent with previous reports that amino acids in these loop regions are involved in differentiating AAV receptor binding, transduction efficiency, and antigenicity properties. Toward structure-function annotation of AAV6 with respect to its unique dual glycan receptor (heparan sulfate and sialic acid) utilization for cellular recognition, and its enhanced lung epithelial transduction compared to other AAVs, the capsid structure was compared to that of AAV1, which binds sialic acid and differs from AAV6 in only 6 out of 736 amino acids. Five of these residues are located at or close to the icosahedral 3-fold axis of the capsid, thereby identifying this region as imparting important functions, such as receptor attachment and transduction phenotype. Two of the five observed amino acids are located in the capsid interior, suggesting that differential AAV infection properties are also controlled by postentry intracellular events. Density ordered inside the capsid, under the 3-fold axis in a previously reported, conserved AAV DNA binding pocket, was modeled as a nucleotide and a base, further implicating this capsid region in AAV genome recognition and/or stabilization.
Somatic mutations in the Jak2 protein, such as V617F, cause aberrant Jak/STAT signaling and can lead to the development of myeloproliferative neoplasms. This discovery has led to the search for small molecule inhibitors that target Jak2. Using structure-based virtual screening, our group recently identified a novel small molecule inhibitor of Jak2 named G6. Here, we identified a structure-function correlation of this compound. Specifically, five derivative compounds of G6 having structural similarity to the original lead compound were obtained and analyzed for their ability to (i) inhibit Jak2-V617F-mediated cell growth, (ii) inhibit the levels of phospho-Jak2, phospho-STAT3, and phospho-STAT5; (iii) induce apoptosis in human erythroleukemia cells; and (iv) suppress pathologic cell growth of Jak2-V617F-expressing human bone marrow cells ex vivo. Additionally, we computationally examined the interactions of these compounds with the ATP-binding pocket of the Jak2 kinase domain. We found that the stilbenoid core-containing derivatives of G6 significantly inhibited Jak2-V617F-mediated cell proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner. They also inhibited phosphorylation of Jak2, STAT3, and STAT5 proteins within cells, resulting in higher levels of apoptosis via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Finally, the stilbenoid derivatives inhibited the pathologic growth of Jak2-V617F-expressing human bone marrow cells ex vivo. Collectively, our data demonstrate that G6 has a stilbenoid core that is indispensable for maintaining its Jak2 inhibitory potential.
The catalysis of CO(2) hydration by human carbonic anhydrase II (HCA II) is limited in maximal velocity by proton transfer from a zinc-bound water molecule to the proton shuttle His64. This proton transfer occurs along a hydrogen-bonded water network, leading to the proton shuttle residue His64, which in turn transfers the proton to bulk solvent. The side chain of His64 occupies two conformations in wild-type HCA II, pointing inward toward the zinc or outward toward bulk solvent. Previously, several studies have examined the roles of residues of the active site cavity that interact with the solvent-mediated hydrogen-bonded network between His64 and the zinc-bound water. Here these studies are extended to examine the effects on proton transfer by mutation at Lys170 (to Ala, Asp, Glu, and His), a residue located near the side chain of His64 but over 15 A away from the active site zinc. In all four variants, His64 is observed in the inward conformation associated with a decrease in the pK(a) of His64 by as much as 1.0 unit and an increase in the rate constant for proton transfer to as much as 4 micros(-1), approximately 5-fold larger than wild-type HCA II. The results show a significant extension of the effective active site of HCA II from the zinc-bound water at the base of the conical cavity in the enzyme to Lys170 near the rim of the cavity. These data emphasize that the active site of HCA II is extended to include residues that, at first glance, appear to be too far from the zinc to exert any catalytic effects.
Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) use a variety of cellular receptors/coreceptors to gain entry into cells. A number of AAV serotypes are now available, and the cognate receptors/coreceptors for only a handful of those have been identified thus far. Of the 10 commonly used AAV serotypes, AAV3 is by far the least efficient in transducing cells in general. However, in our more recent studies, we observed that AAV3 vectors transduced human liver cancer cells remarkably well, which led to the hypothesis that AAV3 uses hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR) as a cellular coreceptor for viral entry. AAV3 infection of human liver cancer cell lines was strongly inhibited by hepatocyte growth factor, HGFR-specific small interfering RNA, and anti-HGFR antibody, which corroborated this hypothesis. However, AAV3 vectors failed to transduce murine hepatocytes, both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that AAV3 specifically uses human HGFR, but not murine HGFR, as a cellular coreceptor for transduction. AAV3 may prove to be a useful vector for targeting human liver cancers for the potential gene therapy.
The crystal structure of human carbonic anhydrase II in the monoclinic P2(1) space group with a doubled a axis from that of the usually observed unit cell has recently been reported, with one of the two molecules in the asymmetric unit demonstrating rotational disorder [Robbins et al. (2010), Acta Cryst. D66, 628-634]. The structure has been redetermined, with the coordinates of both pseudo-symmetrically related molecules in the crystallographic asymmetric unit translated by x = x +/- 1/4, and no rotational disorder is observed. This corresponds to a different choice of how the four molecules in the unit cell should be grouped into pairs that represent a single asymmetric unit.
Human bocavirus (HBoV) was recently discovered and classified in the Bocavirus genus (family Parvoviridae, subfamily Parvovirinae) on the basis of genomic similarity to bovine parvovirus and canine minute virus. HBoV has been implicated in respiratory tract infections and gastroenteric disease in children worldwide, yet despite numerous epidemiological reports, there has been limited biochemical and molecular characterization of the virus. Reported here is the three-dimensional structure of recombinant HBoV capsids, assembled from viral protein 2 (VP2), at 7.9-A resolution as determined by cryo-electron microscopy and image reconstruction. A pseudo-atomic model of HBoV VP2 was derived from sequence alignment analysis and knowledge of the crystal structure of human parvovirus B19 (genus Erythrovirus). Comparison of the HBoV capsid structure to that of parvoviruses from five separate genera demonstrates strong conservation of a beta-barrel core domain and an alpha-helix, from which emanate several loops of various lengths and conformations, yielding a unique surface topology that differs from the three already described for this family. The highly conserved core is consistent with observations for other single-stranded DNA viruses, and variable surface loops have been shown to confer the host-specific tropism and the diverse antigenic properties of this family.
The crystal structure of human carbonic anhydrase II with a doubled a axis from that of the usually observed monoclinic unit cell has been determined and refined to 1.4 A resolution. The diffraction data with h = 2n + 1 were systematically weaker than those with h = 2n. Consequently, the scaling of the data, structure solution and refinement were challenging. The two molecules comprising the asymmetric unit are related by a noncrystallographic translation of (1/2) along a, but one of the molecules has two alternate positions related by a rotation of approximately 2 degrees. This rotation axis is located near the edge of the central beta-sheet, causing a maximum distance disparity of 1.7 A between equivalent atoms on the diametrically opposite side of the molecule. The crystal-packing contacts are similar to two sequential combined unit cells along a of the previously determined monoclinic unit cell. Abnormally high final R(cryst) and R(free) values (20.2% and 23.7%, respectively) are not unusual for structures containing pseudo-translational symmetry and probably result from poor signal to noise in the weak h-odd data.
The crystal structure of the unbound form of HIV-1 subtype A protease (PR) has been determined to 1.7 A resolution and refined as a homodimer in the hexagonal space group P6(1) to an R(cryst) of 20.5%. The structure is similar in overall shape and fold to the previously determined subtype B, C and F PRs. The major differences lie in the conformation of the flap region. The flaps in the crystal structures of the unbound subtype B and C PRs, which were crystallized in tetragonal space groups, are either semi-open or wide open. In the present structure of subtype A PR the flaps are found in the closed position, a conformation that would be more anticipated in the structure of HIV protease complexed with an inhibitor. The amino-acid differences between the subtypes and their respective crystal space groups are discussed in terms of the differences in the flap conformations.
Cell surface carbohydrates play an important role in virus entry and intracellular trafficking. Bovine Adeno-Associated Virus (BAAV) uses plasma membrane gangliosides for transduction and infection. In addition, independent of the infectious pathway, BAAV also has the ability to pass through barrier epithelia and endothelia using a transcytosis pathway dependent upon the presence of cell surface carbohydrates. Thus, in order to better define the carbohydrate interactions that are necessary for BAAV infection or transcytosis, a glycan microarray composed of both natural and synthetic carbohydrates was probed with HA-tagged BAAV particles. This identified chitotriose, a trimer of beta-1-4-linked N-acetyl glucosamine, as having an interaction with BAAV. Competition experiments showed that the BAAV interaction with this carbohydrate is not necessary for infection but is instead important in the transcytosis pathway. The beta-1-4-linked N-acetyl glucosamine modification has been reported on gp96, a glycoprotein involved in the transcytosis of bacteria and toxins. Significantly, immunoprecipitation and competition experiments with an anti-gp96 antibody and a soluble form of gp96, respectively, showed this glycoprotein can also interact with BAAV to serve as a receptor for its transcytosis.
Reengineering the receptor footprints of adeno-associated virus (AAV) isolates may yield variants with improved properties for clinical applications. We generated a panel of synthetic AAV2 vectors by replacing a hexapeptide sequence in a previously identified heparan sulfate receptor footprint with corresponding residues from other AAV strains. This approach yielded several chimeric capsids displaying systemic tropism after intravenous administration in mice. Of particular interest, an AAV2/AAV8 chimera designated AAV2i8 displayed an altered antigenic profile, readily traversed the blood vasculature, and selectively transduced cardiac and whole-body skeletal muscle tissues with high efficiency. Unlike other AAV serotypes, which are preferentially sequestered in the liver, AAV2i8 showed markedly reduced hepatic tropism. These features of AAV2i8 suggest that it is well suited to translational studies in gene therapy of musculoskeletal disorders.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors expressing the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene have been used to deliver CFTR to the airway epithelium of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. However, no significant CFTR function has been demonstrated likely due to low transduction efficiencies of the AAV vectors. To improve AAV transduction efficiency for human airway epithelium (HAE), we generated a chimeric AAV library and performed directed evolution of AAV on an in vitro model of human ciliated airway epithelium. Two independent and novel AAV variants were identified that contained capsid components from AAV-1, AAV-6, and/or AAV-9. The transduction efficiencies of the two novel AAV variants for human ciliated airway epithelium were three times higher than that for AAV-6. The novel variants were then used to deliver CFTR to ciliated airway epithelium from CF patients. Here we show that our novel AAV variants, but not the parental, AAV provide sufficient CFTR delivery to correct the chloride ion transport defect to ~25% levels measured in non-CF cells. These results suggest that directed evolution of AAV on relevant in vitro models will enable further improvements in CFTR gene transfer efficiency and the development of an efficacious and safe gene transfer vector for CF lung disease.
Human carbonic anhydrase II (HCA II) is a monomeric zinc-containing metalloenzyme that catalyzes the hydration of CO(2) to form bicarbonate and a proton. The properties of the zinc have been extensively elucidated in catalysis but less well studied as a contributor to structure and stability. Apo-HCA II (without zinc) was prepared and compared to holo-HCA II: in crystallographic structural features, in backbone amide H/D exchange, and in thermal stability. The removal of zinc from the active site has no effect on either the topological fold of the enzyme or the ordered water network in the active site. However, the removal of the zinc alters the collective electrostatics of the apo-HCA II that result in the following differences from that of the holoenzyme: (1) the main thermal unfolding transition of the apo-HCA II is lowered by 8 degrees C, (2) the relative increase in thermal mobility of atoms of the apo-HCA II was not observed in the vicinity of the active site but manifested on the surface of the enzyme, and (3) the side chain of His 64, the proton shuttle residue that sits on the rim of the active site, is oriented outward and is associated with additional ordered "external" waters, as opposed to a near equal inward and outward orientation in the holo-HCA II.
The crystal structure of human carbonic anhydrase II (CA II) complexed with the inhibitor acetazolamide (AZM) has been determined at 1.1 A resolution and refined to an R(cryst) of 11.2% and an R(free) of 14.7%. As observed in previous CA II-inhibitor complexes, AZM binds directly to the zinc and makes several key interactions with active-site residues. The high-resolution data also showed a glycerol molecule adjacent to the AZM in the active site and two additional AZMs that are adventitiously bound on the surface of the enzyme. The co-binding of AZM and glycerol in the active site demonstrate that given an appropriate ring orientation and substituents, an isozyme-specific CA inhibitor may be developed.
Mycoplasma genitalium is a human pathogen that is associated with nongonococcal urethritis in men and cervicitis in women. The cloning, expression, purification and crystallization of the protein MG289 from M. genitalium strain G37 are reported here. Crystals of MG289 diffracted X-rays to 2.8 A resolution. The crystals belonged to the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 49.7, b = 90.9, c = 176.1 A. The diffraction data after processing had an overall R(merge) of 8.7%. The crystal structure of Cypl, the ortholog of MG289 from M. hyorhinis, has recently been determined, providing a reasonable phasing model; molecular replacement is currently under way.
The immunological sequelae of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene transfer in vivo is quite complex. In murine models, most AAV capsids are associated with minimal or dysfunctional T cell responses to antigenic transgene products. In this study we compared T cell activation against AAV2/8 and AAV2/rh32.33 vectors expressing nuclear-targeted LacZ (nLacZ), GFP, or firefly luciferase in murine skeletal muscle. We show that, unlike AAV8, AAVrh32.33 yields qualitatively and quantitatively robust T cell responses to both the capsid and transgene product. AAV2/rh32.33.CB.nLacZ, but not AAV2/8, drives a high degree of cellular infiltration and a loss of detectable transgene expression in C57BL/6 mice. However, cellular immunity to AAVrh32.33 is ablated in the absence of CD4, CD40L, or CD28, permitting stable beta-galactosidase expression. Treatment of CD40L(-/-) mice with the CD40 agonist, FGK45, failed to restore the CD8 response to AAV2/rh32.33.nLacZ, suggesting that additional factors are involved. Our results suggest that specific domains within the AAVrh32.33 capsid augment the adaptive response to both capsid and transgene Ags in a CD4-dependent pathway involving CD40L signaling and CD28 costimulation. Structural comparison of the AAV8 and rh32.33 capsids has identified key differences that may drive differential immunity by affecting tropism, Ag presentation or the activation of innate immunity. This murine model of AAV-mediated cytotoxicity allows us to delineate the mechanism of viral immune activation, which is relevant to the translation of AAV technology in higher order species.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 9, which is under development for gene-delivery applications, shows significantly enhanced capsid-associated transduction efficiency in muscle compared with other AAV serotypes. With the aim of characterizing the structural determinants of this property, the purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analyses of the AAV9 viral capsid are reported. The crystals diffracted X-rays to 2.8 A resolution using synchrotron radiation and belonged to the trigonal space group P3(2), with unit-cell parameters a = b = 251.0, c = 640.0 A. There are three complete viral capsids in the crystal unit cell. The orientation and position of the asymmetric unit capsid have been determined by molecular-replacement methods and structure determination is in progress.
Mass spectrometry (MS) has been utilized to address the need for a rapid and reliable assay to confirm the capsid serotype identity of recombinant AAV gene transfer vectors. The differences in the primary amino acid sequence of AAV serotypes generate a unique set of fragments with different masses upon proteolytic digestion, and by comparing the fragment masses against common and custom databases, reliable capsid serotype identification is achieved. Highly homologous serotypes, such as AAV1, AAV2, and AAV8, can be distinguished from each other, as well as from less homologous serotypes such as AAV4, and AAV5. Furthermore, analysis of the MS data for wild-type AAV4 compared to an AAV4 capsid with a single amino acid mutation demonstrates the sensitivity of the method and validates the relevance of the method in the context of retinal gene transfer. With an expanding repertoire of AAV serotypes, physicochemical methods for capsid analysis, such as MS, are highly desirable and do not require product-specific analytical reagents such as monoclonal antibodies. A MS-based capsid identity test is suitable for cGMP lot release testing of rAAV gene transfer products and will help ensure patient protection.
The carboxylate atoms of the two catalytic aspartic acid residues in aspartic proteases are nearly coplanar and in the uncomplexed form share an in-plane nucleophilic water molecule that is central to the mechanism of these enzymes. This note reports that while reviewing the electron-density maps derived from the deposited data for uncomplexed plasmepsin II from Plasmodium falciparum [Asojo et al. (2003), J. Mol. Biol. 327, 173-181; PDB code 1lf4], it was discovered that the aspartic acid residues in this structure should in fact be distinctly noncoplanar. The crystallographic model from the deposited coordinates has been re-refined against the 1.9 A resolution published diffraction data to an R(cryst) of 21.2% and an R(free) of 22.2%. The catalytic water molecule is present, but the plane of the carboxylate group of Asp214 is rotated by 66 degrees from its original position.
To engineer gene vectors that target striated muscles after systemic delivery, we constructed a random library of adeno-associated virus (AAV) by shuffling the capsid genes of AAV serotypes 1 to 9, and screened for muscle-targeting capsids by direct in vivo panning after tail vein injection in mice. After 2 rounds of in vivo selection, a capsid gene named M41 was retrieved mainly based on its high frequency in the muscle and low frequency in the liver. Structural analyses revealed that the AAVM41 capsid is a recombinant of AAV1, 6, 7, and 8 with a mosaic capsid surface and a conserved capsid interior. AAVM41 was then subjected to a side-by-side comparison to AAV9, the most robust AAV for systemic heart and muscle gene delivery; to AAV6, a parental AAV with strong muscle tropism. After i.v. delivery of reporter genes, AAVM41 was found more efficient than AAV6 in the heart and muscle, and was similar to AAV9 in the heart but weaker in the muscle. In fact, the myocardium showed the highest gene expression among all tissues tested in mice and hamsters after systemic AAVM41 delivery. However, gene transfer in non-muscle tissues, mainly the liver, was dramatically reduced. AAVM41 was further tested in a genetic cardiomyopathy hamster model and achieved efficient long-term delta-sarcoglycan gene expression and rescue of cardiac functions. Thus, direct in vivo panning of capsid libraries is a simple tool for the de-targeting and retargeting of viral vector tissue tropisms facilitated by acquisition of desirable sequences and properties.
The Mycoplasma hyorhinis protein p37 has been implicated in tumorigenic transformation for more than 20 years. Though there are many speculations as to its function, based solely on sequence homology, the issue has remained unresolved. Presented here is the 1.6-A-resolution refined crystal structure of M. hyorhinis p37, renamed the extracytoplasmic thiamine-binding lipoprotein (Cypl). The structure shows thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) and two calcium ions are bound to Cypl and give the first insights into possible functions of the Cypl-like family of proteins. Sequence alignments of Cypl-like proteins between several different species of mycoplasma show that the thiamine-binding site is likely conserved and structural alignments reveal the similarity of Cypl to various binding proteins. While the experimentally determined function of Cypl remains unknown, the structure shows that the protein is a TPP-binding protein, opening up many avenues for future mechanistic studies and making Cypl a possible target for combating mycoplasma infections and tumorigenic transformation.
Recently, a convincing body of evidence has accumulated suggesting that the overexpression of carbonic anhydrase isozyme IX (CA IX) in some cancers contributes to the acidification of the extracellular matrix, which in turn promotes the growth and metastasis of the tumor. These observations have made CA IX an attractive drug target for the selective treatment of certain cancers. Currently, there is no available X-ray crystal structure of CA IX, and this lack of availability has hampered the rational design of selective CA IX inhibitors. In light of these observations and on the basis of structural alignment homology, using the crystal structure of carbonic anhydrase II (CA II) and the sequence of CA IX, a double mutant of CA II with Ala65 replaced by Ser and Asn67 replaced by Gln has been constructed to resemble the active site of CA IX. This CA IX mimic has been characterized kinetically using (18)O-exchange and structurally using X-ray crystallography, alone and in complex with five CA sulfonamide-based inhibitors (acetazolamide, benzolamide, chlorzolamide, ethoxzolamide, and methazolamide), and compared to CA II. This structural information has been evaluated by both inhibition studies and in vitro cytotoxicity assays and shows a correlated structure-activity relationship. Kinetic and structural studies of CA II and CA IX mimic reveal chlorzolamide to be a more potent inhibitor of CA IX, inducing an active-site conformational change upon binding. Additionally, chlorzolamide appears to be cytotoxic to prostate cancer cells. This preliminary study demonstrates that the CA IX mimic may provide a useful model to design more isozyme-specific CA IX inhibitors, which may lead to development of new therapeutic treatments of some cancers.
Adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2) uses heparan sulfate proteoglycan as a cell surface-attachment receptor. In this study the structures of AAV2 alone and complexed with heparin were determined to approximately 18A resolution using cryo-electron microscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction. A difference map showed positive density, modeled as heparin, close to the icosahedral twofold axes and between the protrusions that surround the threefold axes of the capsid. Regions of the model near the threefold place the receptor in close proximity to basic residues previously identified as part of the heparin binding site. The region of the model near the twofold axes identifies a second contact site, not previously characterized but which is also possibly configured by heparin binding. The difference map also revealed two significant conformational changes: (I) at the tops of the threefold protrusions, which have become flattened in the complex, and (II) at the fivefold axes where the top of the channel is widened possibly in response to movement of the HI loops in the capsid proteins. Ordered density in the interior of the capsid in the AAV2-heparin complex was interpreted as nucleic acid, consistent with the presence of non-viral DNA in the expressed capsids.
Crystals of H-1 Parvovirus (H-1PV), an antitumor gene-delivery vector, were obtained for DNA-containing capsids and diffracted X-rays to 2.7?Å resolution using synchrotron radiation. The crystals belonged to the monoclinic space group P2(1), with unit-cell parameters a=255.4, b=350.4, c=271.6?Å, ?=90.34°. The unit cell contained two capsids, with one capsid per crystallographic asymmetric unit. The H-1PV structure has been determined by molecular replacement and is currently being refined.
Human milk contains a large diversity of free glycans beyond lactose, but their functions are not well understood. To explore their functional recognition, here we describe a shotgun glycan microarray prepared from isolated human milk glycans (HMGs), and our studies on their recognition by viruses, antibodies, and glycan-binding proteins (GBPs), including lectins. The total neutral and sialylated HMGs were derivatized with a bifunctional fluorescent tag, separated by multidimensional HPLC, and archived in a tagged glycan library, which was then used to print a shotgun glycan microarray (SGM). This SGM was first interrogated with well defined GBPs and antibodies. These data demonstrated both the utility of the array and provided preliminary structural information (metadata) about this complex glycome. Anti-TRA-1 antibodies that recognize human pluripotent stem cells specifically recognized several HMGs that were then further structurally defined as novel epitopes for these antibodies. Human influenza viruses and Parvovirus Minute Viruses of Mice also specifically recognized several HMGs. For glycan sequencing, we used a novel approach termed metadata-assisted glycan sequencing (MAGS), in which we combine information from analyses of glycans by mass spectrometry with glycan interactions with defined GBPs and antibodies before and after exoglycosidase treatments on the microarray. Together, these results provide novel insights into diverse recognition functions of HMGs and show the utility of the SGM approach and MAGS as resources for defining novel glycan recognition by GBPs, antibodies, and pathogens.
Incubation of highly purified adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids in vitro at pH 5.5 induced significant autocleavage of capsid proteins at several amino acid positions. No autocleavage was seen at pH 7.5. Examination of other AAV serotypes showed at least two different pH-induced cleavage patterns, suggesting that different serotypes have evolved alternative protease cleavage sites. In contrast, incubation of AAV serotypes with an external protease substrate showed that purified AAV capsid preparations have robust protease activity at neutral pH but not at pH 5.5, opposite to what is seen with capsid protein autocleavage. Several lines of evidence suggested that protease activity is inherent in AAV capsids and is not due to contaminating proteins. Control virus preparations showed no protease activity on external substrates, and filtrates of AAV virus preparations also showed no protease activity contaminating the capsids. Further, N-terminal Edman sequencing identified unique autocleavage sites in AAV1 and AAV9, and mutagenesis of amino acids adjacent to these sites eliminated cleavage. Finally, mutation of an amino acid in AAV2 (E563A) that is in a conserved pH-sensitive structural region eliminated protease activity on an external substrate but did not seem to affect autocleavage. Taken together, our data suggested that AAV capsids have one or more protease active sites that are sensitive to pH induction. Further, it appears that acidic pHs comparable to those seen in late endosomes induce a structural change in the capsid that induces autolytic protease activity. The pH-dependent protease activity may have a role in viral infection.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has attracted considerable interest as a vector for gene therapy owing its lack of pathogenicity and the wealth of available serotypes with distinct tissue tropisms. One of the most promising isolates for vector development, based on its superior gene transfer efficiency to the liver in small animals compared to AAV type 2 (AAV2), is AAV8. Comparison of the in vivo gene transduction of rAAV2 and rAAV8 in mice showed that single amino acid exchanges in the 3-fold protrusions of AAV8 in the surface loops comprised of residues 581 to 584 and 589 to 592 to the corresponding amino acids of AAV2 and vice versa had a strong influence on transduction efficiency and tissue tropism. Surprisingly, not only did conversion of AAV8 to AAV2 cap sequences increase the transduction efficiency and change tissue tropism but so did the reciprocal conversion of AAV2 to AAV8. Insertion of new peptide motifs at position 590 in AAV8 also enabled retargeting of AAV8 capsids to specific tissues, suggesting that these sequences can interact with receptors on the cell surface. However, a neutralizing monoclonal antibody that binds to amino acids (588)QQNTA(592) of AAV8 does not prevent cell binding and virus uptake, indicating that this region is not necessary for receptor binding but rather that the antibody interferes with an essential step of postattachment processing in which the 3-fold protrusion is also involved. This study supports a multifunctional role of the 3-fold region of AAV capsids in the infection process.
Carbonic anhydrases (CAs) are ubiquitous enzymes that catalyze the reversible hydration/dehydration of carbon dioxide/bicarbonate. As such, there is enormous industrial interest in using CA as a bio-catalyst for carbon sequestration and biofuel production. However, to ensure cost-effective use of the enzyme under harsh industrial conditions, studies were initiated to produce variants with enhanced thermostability while retaining high solubility and catalytic activity. Kinetic and structural studies were conducted to determine the structural and functional effects of these mutations. X-ray crystallography revealed that a gain in surface hydrogen bonding contributes to stability while retaining proper active site geometry and electrostatics to sustain catalytic efficiency. The kinetic profiles determined under a variety of conditions show that the surface mutations did not negatively impact the carbon dioxide hydration or proton transfer activity of the enzyme. Together these results show that it is possible to enhance the thermal stability of human carbonic anhydrase II by specific replacements of surface hydrophobic residues of the enzyme. In addition, combining these stabilizing mutations with strategic active site changes have resulted in thermostable mutants with desirable kinetic properties.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors have the potential to promote long-term gene expression. Unfortunately, humoral immunity restricts patient treatment and in addition provides an obstacle to the potential option of vector readministration. In this study, we describe a comprehensive characterization of the neutralizing antibody (NAb) response to AAV type 1 (AAV1) through AAV5 both in vitro and in vivo. These results demonstrated that NAbs generated from one AAV type are unable to neutralize the transduction of other types. We extended this observation by demonstrating that a rationally engineered, muscle-tropic AAV2 mutant containing 5 amino acid substitutions from AAV1 displayed a NAb profile different from those of parental AAV2 and AAV1. Here we found that a single insertion of Thr from AAV1 into AAV2 capsid at residue 265 preserved high muscle transduction, while also changing the immune profile. To better understand the role of Thr insertion at position 265, we replaced all 20 amino acids and evaluated both muscle transduction and the NAb response. Of these variants, 8 mutants induced higher muscle transduction than AAV2. Additionally, three classes of capsid NAb immune profile were defined based on the ability to inhibit transduction from AAV2 or mutants. While no relationship was found between transduction, amino acid properties, and NAb titer or its cross-reactivity, these studies map a critical capsid motif involved in all steps of AAV infectivity. Our results suggest that AAV types can be utilized not only as templates to generate mutants with enhanced transduction efficiency but also as substrates for repeat administration.
Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) are small single-stranded DNA viruses that can package and deliver nongenomic DNA for therapeutic gene delivery. AAV8, a liver-tropic vector, has shown great promise for the treatment of hemophilia A and B. However, as with other AAV vectors, host anti-capsid immune responses are a deterrent to therapeutic success. To characterize the antigenic structure of this vector, cryo-electron microscopy and image reconstruction (cryo-reconstruction) combined with molecular genetics, biochemistry, and in vivo approaches were used to define an antigenic epitope on the AAV8 capsid surface for a neutralizing monoclonal antibody, ADK8. Docking of the crystal structures of AAV8 and a generic Fab into the cryo-reconstruction for the AAV8-ADK8 complex identified a footprint on the prominent protrusions that flank the 3-fold axes of the icosahedrally symmetric capsid. Mutagenesis and cell-binding studies, along with in vitro and in vivo transduction assays, showed that the major ADK8 epitope is formed by an AAV variable region, VRVIII (amino acids 586 to 591 [AAV8 VP1 numbering]), which lies on the surface of the protrusions facing the 3-fold axis. This region plays a role in AAV2 and AAV8 cellular transduction. Coincidently, cell binding and trafficking assays indicate that ADK8 affects a postentry step required for successful virus trafficking to the nucleus, suggesting a probable mechanism of neutralization. This structure-directed strategy for characterizing the antigenic regions of AAVs can thus generate useful information to help re-engineer vectors that escape host neutralization and are hence more efficacious.
The Protein Data Bank (PDB) contains over 71,000 structures. Extensively studied proteins have hundreds of submissions available, including mutations, different complexes, and space groups, allowing for application of data-mining algorithms to analyze an array of static structures and gain insight about a proteins structural variation and possibly its dynamics. This investigation is a case study of HIV protease (PR) using in-house algorithms for data mining and structure superposition through generalized formulæ that account for multiple conformations and fractional occupancies. Temperature factors (B-factors) are compared with spatial displacement from the mean structure over the entire study set and separately over bound and ligand-free structures, to assess the significance of structural deviation in a statistical context. Space group differences are also examined.
Adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vectors show promise for gene therapy of a variety of diseases due to their ability to transduce multiple tissues, including heart, skeletal muscle, and the alveolar epithelium of the lung. In addition, AAV9 is unique compared to other AAV serotypes in that it is capable of surpassing the blood-brain barrier and transducing neurons in the brain and spinal cord. It has recently been shown that AAV9 uses galactose as a receptor to transduce many different cell types in vitro, as well as cells of the mouse airway in vivo. In this study, we sought to identify the specific amino acids of the AAV9 capsid necessary for binding to galactose. By site-directed mutagenesis and cell binding assays, plus computational ligand docking studies, we discovered five amino acids, including N470, D271, N272, Y446, and W503, which are required for galactose binding that form a pocket at the base of the protrusions around the icosahedral 3-fold axes of symmetry. The importance of these amino acids for tissue tropism was also confirmed by in vivo studies in the mouse lung. Identifying the interactions necessary for AAV9 binding to galactose may lead to advances in vector engineering.
Phosphorylation of surface-exposed tyrosine residues negatively impacts the transduction efficiency of recombinant AAV2 vectors. Pre-treatment of cells with specific cellular serine/threonine kinase inhibitors also significantly increased the transduction efficiency of AAV2 vectors. We reasoned that site-directed mutagenesis of surface-exposed serine residues might allow the vectors to evade phosphorylation and thus lead to higher transduction efficiency. Each of the 15 surface-exposed serine (S) residues was substituted with valine (V) residues, and the transduction efficiency of three of these mutants, S458V, S492V and S662V, was increased by up to ? 20-fold in different cell types. The S662V mutant was efficient in transducing human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs), a cell type not readily amenable to transduction by the conventional AAV vectors, and did not induce any phenotypic changes in these cells. Recombinant S662V-AAV2 vectors encoding a truncated human telomerase (hTERT) gene were generated and used to stimulate cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) against target cells. S662V-AAV2-hTERT vector-transduced DCs resulted in rapid, specific T-cell clone proliferation and generation of robust CTLs, which led to specific cell lysis of K562 cells. These studies suggest that high-efficiency transduction of moDCs by serine-modified AAV2 vectors is feasible, which supports the potential utility of these vectors for future human DCs vaccine studies.
Adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) has enhanced capsid-associated tropism for cardiac muscle and the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier compared to other AAV serotypes. To help identify the structural features facilitating these properties, we have used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and three-dimensional image reconstruction (cryo-reconstruction) and X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of the AAV9 capsid at 9.7- and 2.8-Å resolutions, respectively. The AAV9 capsid exhibits the surface topology conserved in all AAVs: depressions at each icosahedral two-fold symmetry axis and surrounding each five-fold axis, three separate protrusions surrounding each three-fold axis, and a channel at each five-fold axis. The AAV9 viral protein (VP) has a conserved core structure, consisting of an eight-stranded, ?-barrel motif and the ?A helix, which are present in all parvovirus structures. The AAV9 VP differs in nine variable surface regions (VR-I to -IX) compared to AAV4, but at only three (VR-I, VR-II, and VR-IV) compared to AAV2 and AAV8. VR-I differences modify the raised region of the capsid surface between the two-fold and five-fold depressions. The VR-IV difference produces smaller three-fold protrusions in AAV9 that are less "pointed" than AAV2 and AAV8. Significantly, residues in the AAV9 VRs have been identified as important determinants of cellular tropism and transduction and dictate its antigenic diversity from AAV2. Hence, the AAV9 VRs likely confer the unique infection phenotypes of this serotype.
Scalable and genetically stable recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) production systems combined with facile adaptability for an extended repertoire of AAV serotypes are required to keep pace with the rapidly increasing clinical demand. For scalable high-titer production of the full range of recombinant AAV (rAAV) serotypes 1-12 we developed OneBac, consisting of stable insect Sf9 cell lines harboring silent copies of AAV1-12 rep and cap genes induced upon infection with a single baculovirus that also carries the rAAV genome. rAAV burst sizes reach up to 5x105 benzonase-resistant, highly infectious genomic particles per cell, exceeding typical yields of current rAAV production systems. In contrast to recombinant rep/cap baculovirus strains currently employed for large-scale rAAV production, the Sf9rep/cap cell lines are genetically stable, leading to undiminished rAAV burst sizes over serial passages. Thus, OneBac combines full AAV serotype options with the capacity for stable scale-up production, the current bottleneck for the transition of AAV from gene therapy trials to routine clinical treatment.
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