Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Anatomy and Cell Biology
John F. Engelhardt
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) is a widely used gene therapy vector. Although a wide range of rAAV serotypes can effectively enter most cell types, their transduction efficiencies (i.e., transgene expression) can vary widely depending on the target cell type. Integrins play important roles as co-receptors for rAAV infection, however, it remains unclear how integrin-dependent and -independent mechanisms of rAAV endocytosis influence the efficiency of intracellular virus processing and ultimately transgene expression. In this thesis, I examined the contribution of integrin-mediated endocytosis to transduction of fibroblasts by rAAV2. I found that promoting AAV2/integrin binding with Mn++ greatly enhanced (~17-fold) rAAV2 transduction independently of cell binding and endocytosis. Subcellular localization studies of rAAV2 demonstrated that integrin activation by Mn++ promoted AAV2 aggregation on alpha5 and beta1 integrins and recruitment of the cytosolic integrin effector protein vinculin. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a down stream effector of integrin signals, was essential for AAV/integrin complex endocytosis and transduction, but not AAV2 recruitment to integrins. Recruitment of FAK to AAV2/integrin complexes was increased by transiently trapping the endocytic event at the plasma membrane by pharmacologic inhibition of dynasore. This also increased the size of AAV2 clusters found beneath the cell at FAK/integrin complexes resembling immature filopodia and caused a large, FAK-dependent (75-fold) increase in AAV2 transduction. These findings support a model whereby integrin activation at the cell surface can redirect rAAV2 toward a FAK-dependent entry pathway that is more productive for cellular transduction. This pathway appears to be conserved for other rAAV serotypes that contain a capsid integrin-binding domain (AAV1 and 6).
Adeno-Associated Virus, Endocytosis, Focal Adhesion Kinase, Gene Therapy, Integrin, Trafficking
xviii, 175 pages
Includes bibliographical references (pages 157-175).
Copyright 2013 Paul Michael Kaminsky