Efficient adeno-associated virus–mediated (AAV-mediated) gene delivery remains a significant obstacle to effective retinal gene therapies. Here, we apply directed evolution — guided by deep sequencing and followed by direct in vivo secondary selection of high-performing vectors with a GFP-barcoded library — to create AAV viral capsids with the capability to deliver genes to the outer retina in primates. A replication-incompetent library, produced via providing rep in trans, was created to mitigate risk of AAV propagation. Six rounds of in vivo selection with this library in primates — involving intravitreal library administration, recovery of genomes from outer retina, and extensive next-generation sequencing of each round — resulted in vectors with redirected tropism to the outer retina and increased gene delivery efficiency to retinal cells. These viral vectors expand the toolbox of vectors available for primate retina, and they may enable less invasive delivery of therapeutic genes to patients, potentially offering retina-wide infection at a similar dosage to vectors currently in clinical use.
Leah C. Byrne, Timothy P. Day, Meike Visel, Jennifer A. Strazzeri, Cécile Fortuny, Deniz Dalkara, William H. Merigan, David V. Schaffer, John G. Flannery
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.