Efficient and selective AAV2-mediated gene transfer directed to human vascular endothelial cells

Mol Ther. 2001 Sep;4(3):174-81. doi: 10.1006/mthe.2001.0424.


Gene therapy vectors based on adeno-associated virus-2 (AAV2) offer considerable promise for human gene therapy. Applications for AAV vectors are limited to tissues efficiently transduced by the vector due to its natural tropism, which is predominantly skeletal muscle, neurons, and hepatocytes. Tropism modification to elevate efficiency and/or selectivity to individual cell types would enhance the scope of AAV for disease therapies. The vascular endothelium is implicitly important in cardiovascular diseases and cancer, but is relatively poorly transduced by AAV vectors. We therefore genetically incorporated the peptide SIGYPLP, which targets endothelial cells (EC), into position I-587 of AAV capsids. SIGYPLP-modified AAV (AAVsig) showed enhanced transduction of human EC compared with AAV with a wild-type capsid (AAVwt), a phenotype independent of heparan sulphate proteoglycan (HSPG) binding. In contrast, AAVsig did not enhance transduction of primary human vascular smooth muscle cells or human hepatocytes, principal targets for AAV vectors in local or systemic gene delivery applications, respectively. Furthermore, infection of EC in the presence of bafilomycin A(2) indicated that intracellular trafficking of AAV particles was altered by targeting AAV by means of SIGYPLP. AAV vectors with enhanced tropism for EC will be useful for diverse gene therapeutics targeted at the vasculature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Capsid / chemistry
  • Capsid / genetics
  • Capsid / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dependovirus / drug effects
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Dependovirus / metabolism
  • Dependovirus / physiology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / virology
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • HeLa Cells
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Heparin / pharmacology
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / virology
  • Humans
  • Macrolides*
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / virology
  • Mutation
  • Organ Specificity
  • Receptors, Virus / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans
  • Macrolides
  • Receptors, Virus
  • bafilomycin A
  • Heparin