Dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapy has recently demonstrated a great potential for clinical applications; however, additional progress in the methods of tumor-specific antigen delivery to DCs is necessary for the further development of anti-tumor vaccines. To this end, a capsid-optimized adeno-associated virus serotype 6 (AAV6-T492V+S663V) vector was developed by site-directed mutagenesis of surface-exposed serine (S) and threonine (T) residues, which have a critical role in intracellular trafficking of AAV vectors. This double-mutant AAV6 vector had ∼5-fold greater transduction efficiency in monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) compared with wild-type (WT)-AAV6 vectors. The increase in the transduction efficiency correlated with the improved nuclear translocation of AAV6-T492V+S663V over that of the WT-AAV6 vector. Additional studies of the CD11c promoter identified critical regulatory elements that fit into the AAV expression cassette and drive EGFP expression in moDCs. Development of a chimeric promoter (chmCD11c) that contains functional modules of CD11c and a Simian virus (SV40) enhancer element dramatically increased the EGFP expression in moDCs. MoDCs transduced by the capsid-optimized AAV6 vector carrying human prostate-specific antigen (hPSA) driven by CBA (AAV6-T492V+S663V-CBA-hPSA) or chmCd11c (AAV6-T492V+S663V-chmCD11c-hPSA) generated specific T-cell clone proliferation and superior cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) with higher killing capability against human prostate adenocarcinoma cells, LNCaP, compared with WT-AAV6 induced CTLs. Taken together, these studies suggest that optimization of capsid and promoter components of AAV vectors can be a useful approach for efficient targeting of moDCs and may prove to be a promising tool for cancer immunotherapy.
- Adeno-associated virus vectors
- CD11c promoter
- Dendritic cells
- Gene expression serine/threonine phosphorylation