Intra-tracheal delivery of AAV6 vectors results in sustained transduction in murine lungs without genomic integration

Yanerys Colon-Cortes, Mutasim Abu Hasan, George Aslanidi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Despite the progress made in AAV-based gene therapy targeting different organ systems, lung-targeted gene therapy using AAV vectors has not been effective, mostly due to the poor transduction and un-sustained gene expression in airway epithelium. Furthermore, concerns over possible harmful insertional mutagenesis seen in other cell types, particularly hepatocytes, raised a question about AAV safety. In this study, we evaluate the long-term persistence of this vector in mouse lungs and any possible harmful integration of these vectors into the host genome. AAV6 vectors expressing reporter gene (firefly luciferase) were delivered to the lungs of C57BL/6 mice through intra-tracheal intubation. Despite the large variation among individual animals, most animals had high and sustained luciferase activity with a peak from 2 to 3 weeks post-transduction before a significant decline between 15 and 19 weeks post-transduction. More importantly, even after its decline, most animals maintained detectable luciferase expression for 150 days or more, which was confirmed by post-necropsy qPCR analysis of luciferase gene expression. At the termination point of experiments, an average of one copy of AAV expression cassette per mouse genome was detected. We also found that partial overlaps between the AAV6 expression cassette and the mouse genome were distributed broadly with no apparent systematic preference in any mouse chromosomal map location. In summary, our data suggest that AAV6 mediated long-term gene expression in the lungs with no evidence of genomic integration, and thus, any insertional mutagenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100037
JournalGene: X
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project is supported by funding from Katie Rose Cystic Fibrosis Research Fund at the University of Florida. The foundation was st up at University of Florida .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors


  • AAV
  • Adeno-associated virus
  • Gene expression
  • Gene therapy
  • Lung diseases
  • Vector integration
  • Vector safety


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