Surface modification of adenovirus vectors can improve tissue-selective targeting, attenuate immunogenicity, and enable imaging of particle biodistribution, thus significantly improving therapeutic potential. Currently, surface engineering is constrained by a combination of factors, including impact on viral fitness, limited access to functionality, or incomplete control over the site of modification. Here, we report a two-step labeling process involving an initial metabolic placement of a uniquely reactive unnatural amino acid, azidohomoalanine (Aha), followed by highly specific chemical modification. As genetic modification of adenovirus is unnecessary, vector production is exceedingly straightforward. Aha incorporation demonstrated no discernible impact on either virus production or infectivity of the resultant particles. "Click" chemical modification of surface-exposed azides was highly selective, allowing for the attachment of a wide range of functionality. Decoration of human adenovirus type 5 (hAd5) with folate, a known cancer-targeting moiety, provided an ~20-fold increase in infection of murine breast cancer cells (4T1) in a folate receptor-dependent manner. This study demonstrates that incorporation of unnatural amino acids can provide a flexible, straightforward route for the selective chemical modification of adenoviral vectors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science