Development of dual-activity vectors by co-envelopment of adenovirus and SiRNA in artificial lipid bilayers


Gene therapy with human adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) has been extensively explored for the treatment of diseases resistant to traditional therapies. Intravenous administration leads to rapid clearance from blood circulation and high liver accumulation, which restrict the use of Ad‐based vectors in clinical gene therapy protocols that involve systemic administration. We have previously proposed that such limitations can be improved by engineering artificial lipid envelopes around Ad and designed a variety of artificial lipid bilayer envelopes around the viral capsid. In this study, we sought to explore further opportunities that the artificially enveloped virus constructs could offer, by designing a previously unreported gene therapy vector by simultaneous envelopment of Ad and siRNA within the same lipid bilayer. Such a dual‐activity vector can offer efficacious therapy for different genetic disorders where both turning on and switching off genes would be needed. Dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy were used to characterize these vectors. Agarose gel electrophoresis, ribo‐green and dot blot assays showed that siRNA and Ad virions can be enveloped together within lipid bilayers at high envelopment efficiency. Cellular uptake and in vitro transfection experiments were carried out to show the feasibility of combining siRNA‐mediated gene silencing with viral gene transfer using these newly designed dual‐activity vectors.