Preexisting immune responses toward adenoviral vectors limit the use of a vector based on particular serotypes and its clinical applicability for gene therapy and/or vaccination. Therefore, there is a significant interest in vectorizing novel adenoviral types that have low seroprevalence in the human population. Here, we describe the discovery and vectorization of a chimeric human adenovirus, which we call HAdV-20-42-42. Full-genome sequencing revealed that this virus is closely related to human serotype 42, except for the penton base, which is derived from serotype 20. The HAdV-20-42-42 vector could be propagated stably to high titers on existing E1-complementing packaging cell lines. Receptor-binding studies revealed that the vector utilized both CAR and CD46 as receptors for cell entry. Furthermore, the HAdV-20-42-42 vector was potent in transducing human and murine cardiovascular cells and tissues, irrespective of the presence of blood coagulation factor X. In vivo characterizations demonstrate that when delivered intravenously (i.v.) in mice, HAdV-20-42-42 mainly targeted the lungs, liver, and spleen and triggered robust inflammatory immune responses. Finally, we demonstrate that potent T-cell responses against vector-delivered antigens could be induced upon intramuscular vaccination in mice. In summary, from the data obtained we conclude that HAdV-20-42-42 provides a valuable addition to the portfolio of adenoviral vectors available to develop efficacious products in the fields of gene therapy and vaccination. IMPORTANCE Adenoviral vectors are under investigation for a broad range of therapeutic indications in diverse fields, such as oncology and gene therapy, as well as for vaccination both for human and veterinary use. A wealth of data shows that preexisting immune responses may limit the use of a vector. Particularly in the current climate of global pandemic, there is a need to expand the toolbox with novel adenoviral vectors for vaccine development. Our data demonstrate that we have successfully vectorized a novel adenovirus type candidate with low seroprevalence. The cell transduction data and antigen-specific immune responses induced in vivo demonstrate that this vector is highly promising for the development of gene therapy and vaccine products.
Keywords: cell and tissue transduction; expression vector; low seroprevalence; novel adenovirus serotype; potent T-cell responses.