The utility of adenoviral vectors for gene therapy is currently limited due, in part, to the widespread distribution of the cellular receptor for the adenovirus fiber that precludes the targeting of specific cell types. In order to develop a targeted adenovirus, it is therefore necessary both to ablate endogenous viral tropism and to introduce novel tropism. We hypothesized that these two goals could be achieved by employing a neutralizing anti-fiber antibody, or antibody fragment, chemically conjugated to a cell-specific ligand. To test this concept, we chose to target the folate receptor, which is overexpressed on the surface of a variety of malignant cells. Therefore, we conjugated folate to the neutralizing Fab fragment of an anti-fiber monoclonal antibody. This Fab-folate conjugate was complexed with an adenoviral vector carrying the luciferase reporter gene and was shown to redirect adenoviral infection of target cells via the folate receptor at a high efficiency. Furthermore, when complexed with an adenoviral vector carrying the gene for herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase, the Fab-folate conjugate mediated the specific killing of cells that overexpress the folate receptor. This work thus represents the first demonstration of the retargeting of a recombinant adenoviral vector via a non-adenoviral cellular receptor.
- Gene therapy
- Targeted adenovirus