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Intracellular fate of AAV particles in human Dendritic Cell and impact on Gene Transfer

Abstract : Vectors derived from the Adeno-associated virus (AAV) have emerged as an efficient system for in vivo gene transfer. However, despite their low immunogenicity and good tolerance in vivo, a better characterization of the host-AAV interaction is required to be able to fully exploit AAV’s potential fora gene therapy or gene vaccination. In this PhD project, we have used an in vitro directed evolution strategy to select an AAV capsid variant able to transduce human dendritic cell (DC), a non-permissive cell type which plays a critical role in the initiation of immune responses and, consequently, on the persistence of the expression of transgene in vivo. This procedure allowed us to identify an AAV variant characterized by a decreased stability of the capsid in vitro. The use of this mutant as a vector to transduce human DC resulted in an improved uncoating of the vector genome in the cell nucleus, thus identifying this step as major barrier toward DC transduction. Interestingly, the selected variant also displayed an increased transduction efficiency not only in DC but also in different primary human and animal cell types, poorly or non-permissive to AAV. Finally, when injected in mice, this AAV variant resulted in a higher expression of the transgene, associated to a low level of immune responses, suggesting the induction of tolerant state. The remarkable features suggest that our selected variant capsid is a promising candidate for medical applications.
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Axel Rossi. Intracellular fate of AAV particles in human Dendritic Cell and impact on Gene Transfer. Cellular Biology. Université de Lyon, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016LYSEN028⟩. ⟨tel-02491137⟩

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