An innate immune response to adeno-associated virus genomes decreases cortical dendritic complexity and disrupts synaptic transmission

Christos M. Suriano, Neerav Kumar, Jessica L. Verpeut, Jie Ma, Caroline Jung, Connor E. Dunn, Brigett V. Carvajal, Ai Vy Nguyen, Lisa M. Boulanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) allow rapid and efficient gene delivery to the nervous system, are widely used in neuroscience research, and are the basis of FDA-approved neuron-targeting gene therapies. Here we find that an innate immune response to the AAV genome reduces dendritic length and complexity and disrupts synaptic transmission in mouse somatosensory cortex. Dendritic loss is apparent 3 weeks after injection of experimentally relevant viral titers, is not restricted to a particular capsid serotype, transgene, promoter, or production facility, and cannot be explained by responses to surgery or transgene expression. AAV-associated dendritic loss is accompanied by a decrease in the frequency and amplitude of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents and an increase in the proportion of GluA2-lacking, calcium-permeable AMPA receptors. The AAV genome is rich in unmethylated CpG DNA, which is recognized by the innate immunoreceptor Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), and acutely blocking TLR9 preserves dendritic complexity and AMPA receptor subunit composition in AAV-injected mice. These results reveal unexpected impacts of an immune response to the AAV genome on neuronal structure and function and identify approaches to improve the safety and efficacy of AAV-mediated gene delivery in the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Therapy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • AAV
  • dendritic arbor
  • neuron
  • synaptic communication
  • Toll-like receptor 9

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