Comparative study of neuron-specific promoters in mouse brain transduced by intravenously administered AAV-PHP.eB

Neurosci Lett. 2021 Jun 21:756:135956. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2021.135956. Epub 2021 May 11.


Adeno-associated virus (AAV)- PHP.B and AAV-PHP.eB (PHP.eB), a capsid variant of AAV serotype 9, efficiently penetrates the mouse blood-brain barrier and predominantly infects neurons. Thus, the PHP.B / PHP.eB capsid and a neuron-specific promoter is a reasonable combination for effective neuronal transduction. However, the transduction characteristics of intravenously administered PHP.B / PHP.eB carrying different neuron-specific promoters have not been studied systematically. In this study, using an intravenous infusion of PHP.eB in mice, we performed a comparative study of the ubiquitous CBh and three neuron-specific promoters, the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase subunit α (CaMKII) promoter, neuron-specific enolase (NSE) promoter, and synapsin I with a minimal CMV sequence (SynI-minCMV) promoter. Expression levels of a transgene by three neuron-specific promoters were comparable to or higher than those of the CBh promoter. Among the promoters examined, the NSE promoter showed the highest transgene expression. All neuron-specific promoters were activated specifically in the neurons. PHP.eB carrying the CaMKII promoter, which is generally believed to exert its function exclusively in the excitatory neurons, transduced both the excitatory and inhibitory neurons without bias, whereas PHP.eB with the NSE and SynI-minCMV promoters transduced neurons with significant bias toward inhibitory neurons. These results are useful in neuron-targeted broad transgene expression through systemic infusion of blood-brain-barrier-penetrating AAV vectors carrying the neuron-specific promoter.

Keywords: AAV-PHP.B; Adeno-associated virus; CaMKII promoter; NSE promoter; Neuron-specific promoter; Synapsin I promoter.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2 / genetics
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2 / metabolism
  • Dependovirus
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / genetics
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Synapsins / genetics
  • Synapsins / metabolism


  • Synapsins
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase