Chimeric or hybrid herpes simplex virus type 1/adeno-associated virus amplicon vectors combine the large transgene capacity of HSV-1 with the potential for site-specific genomic integration and stable transgene expression of AAV. These chimeric vectors have been demonstrated to support transgene expression for significantly longer periods than standard HSV-1 amplicons. Moreover, HSV/AAV hybrid vectors can mediate integration at the AAVS1 preintegration site on human chromosome 19 at a relatively high rate, although random integration has also been observed. One major remaining hurdle of HSV/AAV hybrid vectors is the low packaging efficiency and titers when AAV rep sequences are included in the amplicon vector. In the conditions prevalent during the replication/packaging of HSV/AAV hybrid amplicons into HSV-1 virions, in particular the presence of HSV-1 replication factors and AAV Rep protein, at least three different viral origins of DNA replication are active: the HSV-1 ori, the AAV inverted terminal repeats (ITRs), and the p5 promoter/ori driving expression of the AAV rep gene. A detailed understanding of the properties of these origins of DNA replication and the molecular mechanisms of interactions between them, may allow designing novel hybrid vectors that allow the efficient and precise integration of large transgenes in the human genome.
Keywords: HSV/AAV hybrid amplicon, site-specific integration, virus-virus interaction, replication compartment
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