Viral vectors derived from adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) are widely used for gene transfer both in vitro and in vivo. The increasing use of AAV as a gene transfer vector, as well as recently shown immunological complications in clinical trials, highlight the necessity to define the specific activity of vector preparations beyond current standards. In this report, we determined the infectious, physical and genome-containing particle titers of several wild-type AAV type 2 (wtAAV2) and recombinant AAV type 2 (rAAV2) preparations that were produced and purified by standard methods. We found that the infectivity of wtAAV2 approaches a physical-to-infectious particle ratio of one. This near-perfect physical-to-infectious particle ratio defines a ceiling for the theoretically achievable quality of recombinant AAV vectors. In comparison, for rAAV2, only approximately 50 out of 100 viral particles contained a genome and, more strikingly, only approximately 1 of the 100 viral particles was infectious. Our findings suggest that current strategies for rAAV vector design, production and/or purification should be amenable to improvements. Ultimately, this could result in the generation of near-perfect vector particles, a prospect with significant implications for gene therapy.
- particle-to-infectivity ratio
- specific activity