Novel Chimeric Gene Therapy Vectors Based on Adeno-Associated Virus and Four Different Mammalian Bocaviruses

Fakhiri, Julia, Schneider, Marc A., Puschhof, Jens, Stanifer, Megan, Schildgen, Verena, Holderbach, Stefan, Voss, Yannik, El Andari, Jihad, Schildgen, Oliver, Boulant, Steeve, Meister, Michael, Clevers, Hans, Yan, Ziying, Qiu, Jianming & Grimm, Dirk

Published: 15/03/2019

Parvoviruses are highly attractive templates for the engineering of safe, efficient, and specific gene therapy vectors, as best exemplified by adeno-associated virus (AAV). Another candidate that currently garners increasing attention is human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1). Notably, HBoV1 capsids can cross-package recombinant (r)AAV2 genomes, yielding rAAV2/HBoV1 chimeras that specifically transduce polarized human airway epithelia (pHAEs). Here, we largely expanded the repertoire of rAAV/BoV chimeras, by assembling packaging plasmids encoding the capsid genes of four additional primate bocaviruses, HBoV2–4 and GBoV (Gorilla BoV). Capsid protein expression and efficient rAAV cross-packaging were validated by immunoblotting and qPCR, respectively. Interestingly, not only HBoV1 but also HBoV4 and GBoV transduced pHAEs as well as primary human lung organoids. Flow cytometry analysis of pHAEs revealed distinct cellular specificities between the BoV isolates, with HBoV1 targeting ciliated, club, and KRT5+ basal cells, whereas HBoV4 showed a preference for KRT5+ basal cells. Surprisingly, primary human hepatocytes, skeletal muscle cells, and T cells were also highly amenable to rAAV/BoV transduction. Finally, we adapted our pipeline for AAV capsid gene shuffling to all five BoV isolates. Collectively, our chimeric rAAV/BoV vectors and bocaviral capsid library represent valuable new resources to dissect BoV biology and to breed unique gene therapy vectors.

Full Access Link: Molecular Therapy - Methods and Clinical Development