Targeting recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors to enhance gene transfer to pancreatic islets and liver

Gene Ther. 2003 Sep;10(18):1551-8. doi: 10.1038/


Human pancreatic islet cells and hepatocytes represent the two most likely target cells for genetic therapy of type I diabetes. However, limits to the efficiency of rAAV serotype 2 (rAAV2)-mediated gene transfer have been reported for both of these cell targets. Here we report that nonserotype 2 AAV capsids can mediate more efficient transduction of islet cells, with AAV1 being the most efficient serotype in murine islets, suggesting that receptor abundance could be limiting. In order to test this, we generated rAAV particles that display a ligand (ApoE) that targets the low-density lipoprotein receptor, which is present on both of these cell types. The rAAV/ApoE viruses greatly enhanced the efficiency of transduction of both islet cells ex vivo and murine hepatocytes in vivo when compared to native rAAV2 serotype (220- and four-fold, respectively). The use of receptor-targeted rAAV particles may circumvent the lower abundance of receptors on certain nonpermissive cell types.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / therapy*
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods*


  • Apolipoproteins E