Prolonged expression of an anti-HIV-1 gp120 minibody to the female rhesus macaque lower genital tract by AAV gene transfer

Abdel-Motal, U M; Harbison, C; Han, T; Pudney, J; Anderson, D J; Zhu, Q; Westmoreland, S; Marasco, W A
September 2014
Gene Therapy;Sep2014, Vol. 21 Issue 9, p802
Academic Journal
Topical microbicides are a leading strategy for prevention of HIV mucosal infection to women; however, numerous pharmacokinetic limitations associated with coitally related dosing strategy have contributed to their limited success. Here we test the hypothesis that adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediated delivery of the b12 human anti-HIV-1 gp120 minibody gene to the lower genital tract of female rhesus macaques (Rh) can provide prolonged expression of b12 minibodies in the cervical-vaginal secretions. Gene transfer studies demonstrated that, of various green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing AAV serotypes, AAV-6 most efficiently transduced freshly immortalized and primary genital epithelial cells (PGECs) of female Rh in vitro. In addition, AAV-6-b12 minibody transduction of Rh PGECs led to inhibition of SHIV162p4 transmigration and virus infectivity in vitro. AAV-6-GFP could also successfully transduce vaginal epithelial cells of Rh when applied intravaginally, including p63+ epithelial stem cells. Moreover, intravaginal application of AAV-6-b12 to female Rh resulted in prolonged minibody detection in their vaginal secretions throughout the 79-day study period. These data provide proof of principle that AAV-6-mediated delivery of anti-HIV broadly neutralizing antibody (BnAb) genes to the lower genital tract of female Rh results in persistent minibody detection for several months. This strategy offers promise that an anti-HIV-1 genetic microbicide strategy may be possible in which topical application of AAV vector, with periodic reapplication as needed, may provide sustained local BnAb expression and protection.


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