MicroRNA-regulated, systemically delivered rAAV9: A step closer to CNS-restricted transgene expression

Jun Xie, Qing Xie, Hongwei Zhang, Stefan L. Ameres, Jui-Hung Hung, Qin Su, Ran He, Xin Mu, Seemin Seher Ahmed, Soyeon Park, Hiroki Kato, Chengjian Li, Christian Mueller, Craig C. Mello, Zhiping Weng, Terence R. Flotte, Phillip D. Zamore, Guangping Gao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) that can cross the blood-brain-barrier and achieve efficient and stable transvascular gene transfer to the central nervous system (CNS) hold significant promise for treating CNS disorders. However, following intravascular delivery, these vectors also target liver, heart, skeletal muscle, and other tissues, which may cause untoward effects. To circumvent this, we used tissue-specific, endogenous microRNAs (miRNAs) to repress rAAV expression outside the CNS, by engineering perfectly complementary miRNA-binding sites into the rAAV9 genome. This approach allowed simultaneous multi-tissue regulation and CNS-directed stable transgene expression without detectably perturbing the endogenous miRNA pathway. Regulation of rAAV expression by miRNA was primarily via site-specific cleavage of the transgene mRNA, generating specific 5′ and 3′ mRNA fragments. Our findings promise to facilitate the development of miRNA-regulated rAAV for CNS-targeted gene delivery and other applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-535
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

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