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Selection of a novel AAV2/TNFAIP3 vector for local suppression of islet xenograft inflammation


BACKGROUND: Neonatal porcine islets (NPIs) can restore glucose control in mice, pigs, and non-human primates, representing a potential abundant alternative islet supply for clinical beta cell replacement therapy. However, NPIs are vulnerable to inflammatory insults that could be overcome with genetic modifications. Here, we demonstrate in a series of proof-of-concept experiments the potential of the cytoplasmic ubiquitin-editing protein A20, encoded by the TNFAIP3 gene, as an NPI cytoprotective gene. METHODS: We forced A20 expression in NPI grafts using a recombinant adenovirus 5 (Ad5) vector and looked for impact on TNF-stimulated NF-kappaB activation and NPI graft function. As adeno-associated vectors (AAV) are clinically preferred vectors but exhibit poor transduction efficacy in NPIs, we next screened a series of AAV serotypes under different transduction protocols for their ability achieve high transduction efficiency and suppress NPI inflammation without impacting NPI maturation. RESULTS: Forcing the expression of A20 in NPI with Ad5 vector blocked NF-kappaB activation by inhibiting IkappaBalpha phosphorylation and degradation, and reduced the induction of pro-inflammatory genes Cxcl10 and Icam1. A20-expressing NPIs also exhibited superior functional capacity when transplanted into diabetic immunodeficient recipient mice, evidenced by a more rapid return to euglycemia and improved GTT compared to unmodified NPI grafts. We found AAV2 combined with a 14-day culture period maximized NPI transduction efficiency (>70% transduction rate), and suppressed NF-kappaB-dependent gene expression without adverse impact upon NPI maturation. CONCLUSION: We report a new protocol that allows for high-efficiency genetic modification of NPIs, which can be utilized to introduce candidate genes without the need for germline engineering. This approach would be suitable for preclinical and clinical testing of beneficial molecules. We also report for the first time that A20 is cytoprotective for NPI, such that A20 gene therapy could aid the clinical development of NPIs for beta cell replacement.

Type Journal
ISBN 1399-3089 (Electronic) 0908-665X (Linking)
Authors Zammit, N. W.; Seeberger, K. L.; Zamerli, J.; Walters, S. N.; Lisowski, L.; Korbutt, G. S.; Grey, S. T.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Shane Grey
Published Date 2021-05-31
Published Volume 28
Published Issue 3
Published Pages e12669
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1111/xen.12669
URL link to publisher's version