Free cholesterol enhances adenoviral vector gene transfer and expression in CAR-deficient cells

Efficient adenovirus vector-mediated gene transfer depends on the presence of sufficient amounts of the high-affinity coxsackie–adenovirus (Ad) receptor (CAR) on the surface of the target cell leading to receptor-mediated endocytosis of the vector. The present study evaluates the effect of free cholesterol, a lipid component of endocytic vesicles, on Ad uptake into CAR-deficient cells. Infection in the presence of free cholesterol at its maximum solubility in water led to increased binding, uptake, and expression of Ad in human skin fibroblasts and alveolar macrophages, two primary human cells known to be deficient in CAR.