Publication date: September 2018
Source:Biomaterials, Volume 176
Author(s): Xintao Zhang, Ting He, Zheng Chai, R. Jude Samulski, Chengwen Li
The adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector has been used in preclinical and clinical trials of gene therapy for central nervous system (CNS) diseases. One of the biggest challenges of effectively delivering AAV to the brain is to surmount the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Herein, we identified several potential BBB shuttle peptides that significantly enhanced AAV8 transduction in the brain after a systemic administration, the best of which was the THR peptide. The enhancement of AAV8 brain transduction by THR is dose-dependent, and neurons are the primary THR targets. Mechanism studies revealed that THR directly bound to the AAV8 virion, increasing its ability to cross the endothelial cell barrier. Further experiments showed that binding of THR to the AAV virion did not interfere with AAV8 infection biology, and that THR competitively blocked transferrin from binding to AAV8. Taken together, our results demonstrate, for the first time, that BBB shuttle peptides are able to directly interact with AAV and increase the ability of the AAV vectors to cross the BBB for transduction enhancement in the brain. These results will shed important light on the potential applications of BBB shuttle peptides for enhancing brain transduction with systemic administration of AAV vectors.