Molecular Medicine Israel

An AAV capsid reprogrammed to bind human transferrin receptor mediates brain-wide gene delivery


Developing vehicles that efficiently deliver genes throughout the human central nervous system (CNS) will broaden the range of treatable genetic diseases. We engineered an adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsid, BI-hTFR1, that binds human transferrin receptor (TfR1), a protein expressed on the blood-brain barrier (BBB). BI-hTFR1 was actively transported across human brain endothelial cells and, relative to AAV9, provided 40–50 times greater reporter expression in the CNS of human TFRC knock-in mice. The enhanced tropism was CNS-specific and absent in wild type mice. When used to deliver GBA1, mutations of which cause Gaucher disease and are linked to Parkinson’s disease, BI-hTFR1 substantially increased brain and cerebrospinal fluid glucocerebrosidase activity compared to AAV9. These findings establish BI-hTFR1 as a potential vector for human CNS gene therapy.

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