Self-complementary AAV mediates gene targeting and enhances endonuclease delivery for double-strand break repair

Gene Ther. 2010 Sep;17(9):1175-80. doi: 10.1038/gt.2010.65. Epub 2010 May 13.


Adeno-associated virus (AAV) mediates gene targeting in humans by providing exogenous DNA for allelic replacement through homologous recombination. In comparison to other methods of DNA delivery or alternative DNA substrates, AAV gene targeting is reported to be very efficient, perhaps due to its single-stranded DNA genome, the inverted terminal repeats (ITRs), and/or the consequence of induced cellular signals on infection or uncoating. These viral attributes were investigated in the presence and absence of an I-Sce endonuclease-induced double-strand break (DSB) within a chromosomal defective reporter in human embryonic kidney cells. Gene correction was evaluated using self-complementary (sc) AAV, which forms a duplexed DNA molecule and results in earlier and robust transgene expression compared with conventional single-strand (ss) AAV genomes. An scAAV repair substrate was modestly enhanced for reporter correction showing no dependency on ssAAV genomes for this process. The AAV ITR sequences were also investigated in a plasmid repair context. No correction was noted in the absence of a DSB, however, a modest inhibitory effect correlated with the increasing presence of ITR sequences. Similarly, signaling cascades stimulated upon recombinant AAV transduction had no effect on plasmid-mediated DSB repair. Noteworthy, was the 20-fold additional enhancement in reporter correction using scAAV vectors, over ss versions, to deliver both the repair substrate and the endonuclease. In this case, homologous recombination repaired the defective reporter in 4% of cells without any selection. This report provides novel insights regarding the recombination substrates used by AAV vectors in promoting homologous recombination and points to the initial steps in vector optimization that could facilitate their use in gene correction of genetic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA, Single-Stranded / metabolism
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases / genetics*
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases / metabolism
  • Gene Targeting*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Transfection


  • DNA, Single-Stranded
  • DNA
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases