Oversized AAV transductifon is mediated via a DNA-PKcs-independent, Rad51C-dependent repair pathway

Matthew L. Hirsch, Chengwen Li, Isabella Bellon, Chaoying Yin, Sai Chavala, Marina Pryadkina, Isabelle Richard, Richard Jude Samulski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A drawback of gene therapy using adeno-associated virus (AAV) is the DNA packaging restriction of the viral capsid (<4.7 kb). Recent observations demonstrate oversized AAV genome transduction through an unknown mechanism. Herein, AAV production using an oversized reporter (6.2 kb) resulted in chloroform and DNase-resistant particles harboring distinct "fragment" AAV (fAAV) genomes (5.0, 2.4, and 1.6 kb). Fractionation experiments determined that only the larger "fragments" mediated transduction in vitro, and relatively efficient transduction was also demonstrated in the muscle, the eye, and the liver. In contrast with concatemerization-dependent large-gene delivery by split AAV, fAAV transduction is independent of the catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs) in vitro and in vivo while disproportionately reliant on the DNA strand-annealing protein Rad51C. Importantly, fAAV's unique dependence on DNA repair proteins, compared with intact AAV, strongly suggests that the majority of oversized AAV transduction is mediated by fragmented genomes. Although fAAV transduction is less efficient than intact AAV, it is enhanced fourfold in muscle and sevenfold in the retina compared with split AAV transduction. Furthermore, fAAV carrying codon-optimized therapeutic dysferlin cDNA in a 7.5 kb expression cassette restored dysferlin levels in a dystrophic model. Collectively, oversized AAV genome transduction requires unique DNA repair pathways and offers an alternative, more efficient strategy for large-gene therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2205-2216
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013


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