A Directed Evolution Approach to Select for Novel Adeno-Associated Virus Capsids on an HIV-1 Producer T Cell Line

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A directed evolution approach was used to select for Adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids that would exhibit more tropism toward an HIV-1 producer T cell line with the long-term goal of developing improved gene transfer vectors. A library of AAV variants was used to infect H9 T cells previously infected or uninfected by HIV-1 followed by AAV amplification with wild-type adenovirus. Six rounds of biological selection were performed, including negative selection and diversification after round three. The H9 T cells were successfully infected with all three wild-type viruses (AAV, adenovirus, and HIV-1). Four AAV cap mutants best representing the small number of variants emerging after six rounds of selection were chosen for further study. These mutant capsids were used to package an AAV vector and subsequently used to infect H9 cells that were previously infected or uninfected by HIV-1. A quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay was performed to measure cell-associated AAV genomes. Two of the four cap mutants showed a significant increase in the amount of cell-associated genomes as compared to wild-type AAV2. This study shows that directed evolution can be performed successfully to select for mutants with improved tropism for a T cell line in the presence of HIV-1.



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