WO1999036559A1 - Viral vectors expressing self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filaments and their use - Google Patents

Viral vectors expressing self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filaments and their use Download PDF

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WO1999036559A1
WO1999036559A1 PCT/CA1999/000007 CA9900007W WO9936559A1 WO 1999036559 A1 WO1999036559 A1 WO 1999036559A1 CA 9900007 W CA9900007 W CA 9900007W WO 9936559 A1 WO9936559 A1 WO 9936559A1
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recombinant viral
polymerizing
viral vector
self
gene
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Jean-Pierre Julien
Claude Gravel
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Julien Jean Pierre
Claude Gravel
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    • C12N15/00Mutation or genetic engineering; DNA or RNA concerning genetic engineering, vectors, e.g. plasmids, or their isolation, preparation or purification; Use of hosts therefor
    • C12N15/09Recombinant DNA-technology
    • C12N15/63Introduction of foreign genetic material using vectors; Vectors; Use of hosts therefor; Regulation of expression
    • C12N15/79Vectors or expression systems specially adapted for eukaryotic hosts
    • C12N15/85Vectors or expression systems specially adapted for eukaryotic hosts for animal cells
    • C12N15/86Viral vectors
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    • C07ORGANIC CHEMISTRY
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    • C07K14/00Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof
    • C07K14/435Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof from animals; from humans
    • C07K14/46Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof from animals; from humans from vertebrates
    • C07K14/47Peptides having more than 20 amino acids; Gastrins; Somatostatins; Melanotropins; Derivatives thereof from animals; from humans from vertebrates from mammals
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61KPREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES
    • A61K48/00Medicinal preparations containing genetic material which is inserted into cells of the living body to treat genetic diseases; Gene therapy
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    • C12BIOCHEMISTRY; BEER; SPIRITS; WINE; VINEGAR; MICROBIOLOGY; ENZYMOLOGY; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING
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    • C12N2710/00MICROORGANISMS OR ENZYMES; COMPOSITIONS THEREOF; PROPAGATING, PRESERVING OR MAINTAINING MICROORGANISMS; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING; CULTURE MEDIA dsDNA Viruses
    • C12N2710/00011MICROORGANISMS OR ENZYMES; COMPOSITIONS THEREOF; PROPAGATING, PRESERVING OR MAINTAINING MICROORGANISMS; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING; CULTURE MEDIA dsDNA Viruses dsDNA Viruses
    • C12N2710/10011Adenoviridae
    • C12N2710/10311Mastadenovirus, e.g. human or simian adenoviruses
    • C12N2710/10341Use of virus, viral particle or viral elements as a vector
    • C12N2710/10343Use of virus, viral particle or viral elements as a vector viral genome or elements thereof as genetic vector

Abstract

Novel vectors expressing self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament genes are described. The invention also provides methods of using these vectors in gene therapy to deliver self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filaments to subjects with neurodegenerative diseases, neural injuries, and neural degeneration due to aging.

Description

VIRAL VECTORS EXPRESSING SELF-POLYMERIZING NEURONAL INTERMEDIATE FILAMENTS AND THEIR USE

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to recombinant viral vectors and their use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Neurons are important cells in the nervous system, being involved in receiving, organizing, and transmitting information. Each neuron contains a cell body, an axon (a thin, tube-like process that arises from the cell body and travels some distance before terminating), and dendrites (neuronal processes of the cell body that are shorter and thicker than axons). The cytoskeleton of the neuron provides mechanical strength to the axons and dendrites and a track for transport of materials between the cell body and the nerve terminal. The cytoskeleton is a system of interconnected macromolecular filaments. Three polymeric structures form the basis of this cytoskeleton: actin filaments (micro filaments), microtubules, and intermediate filaments.

Intermediate Filaments: Intermediate filaments (IFs) are 10 nm filaments found in most eukaryotic cells. There are six classes of IFs recognized according to sequence homology and gene structure: type I and II IFs include the acidic, neutral, and basic keratins; type III IFs include vimentin, desmin, the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), peripherin, and plasticin; type IV IFs include neurofilament proteins and α-internexin; type V IFs include the nuclear lamins; and type VI IFs include nestin expressed in neuroepithelial cells.

Neuronal Intermediate Filaments:

Neuronal intermediate filaments (NIFs) include neurofilaments, peripherin, α-intemexin, vimentin, and nestin. The NIF proteins are encoded by a large multigene family displaying cell and tissue-specific expression patterns throughout development. There is a sequential appearance of the NIFs in developing neurons. Nestin is expressed during embryonic developmentofneuroectodermalcells (Lendahl et /., (1990) Cell 60:585-595). This is followed by the co-expression of vimentin and α-intemexin (Cochard and Paulin (1984) J. Neurosci. 4:2080-2094; Tapscott etα/., (1981) Dev. Biol 86:40-45). These NIFs are gradually replaced by

NF proteins in maturing CNS neurons (Carden etai, (1987) J. Neurosci. 7:3489-3504; Kaplan et ai, (1990) J. Neurosci. 10:2735-2748; Pachter and Liem (1984) Dev. Biol. 103:200-210).

The NIF proteins are made up of an assembly of protein subunits. The current model of NIF assembly involves 1) the bonding of two subunits to form a dimer; 2) the aggregation of two antiparallel dimers to form a tetramer. called a protofilament (Steinert and Roop (1988) Anna.

Rev. Biochem. 57:593-625); 3) the joining of about eight protofilaments end on end; and 4) the association of these joined protofilaments to other joined protofilaments by staggered overlaps to form a 10 nm filament. The cytoplasmic NIF proteins share a homologous central region of similar size (approximately 310 amino acids) flanked by amino- and carboxy-terminal domains varying greatly in sequence and in length. The central region of NIF proteins forms an extended α-helical rod domain that plays a critical role in protein assembly into 10 nm filaments.

There is growing evidence for a role of NIF proteins in axonal outgrowth and regeneration (Jacobs et al., J. Neurosci. 17:5206-5220; Zhu etai, Exp. Neurol. (In press)).

Peripherin Peripherin is a neuron-specific IF protein, present in large amounts in peripheral sensory and sympathetic neurons and in some subpopulations of CNS neurons. There is increased peripherin transport in regenerating axons and increased peripherin mRNA levels in cells following axotomy; thus, it has been suggested that peripherin plays a role in the regeneration of axons (Chadan et al., (1994) J. Neurosci. Res. 39(2):127-139). Peripherin is capable of self- polymerizing into homopolymer IFs (Cui et al., (1995) J. Cell Sci. 108(10):3279-3284).

A Ipha-Internexin

Alpha-internexin, also known as NF-66. is a neuron-specific IF protein, expressed in the developing peripheral nervous system (Foley etai, (1994) Lab. Investigation 71 (2):193-199). The expression of α-intemexin during development precedes that of NF-L. Its mRNA levels appear to be maximal prior to birth and minimal in adulthood (Fliegner etai, (1990) EMBOJ. 9:749-755), and embryonic IFs contain an elevated proportion of α-intemexin relative to their adult counterparts (Kaplan et al., (1990) J. Neurosci. 10:2735-2748).

There is a high degree of homology between α-intemexin and the NF subunits (Fliegner etai, (1990) supra) . Alpha-internexin is localized primarily within axons in the adult CNS in a pattern similar to the NFs. It is capable of binding to NF-L, NF-M, and vimentin (Pachter and Liem (1985) /. Cell. Biol. 101:1316-1322).

Alpha- internexin is capable of self-polymerization into homopolymer IFs (Balin and Miller

(1995) J. Neurosci. Res. 40(1): 79-88). It has also been established that alpha- internexin forms heteropolymeric filaments with the NF proteins. This suggests that alpha- internexin may play a role as a polymerization center or nucleation site during neuronal development and axonal elongation (Balin and Miller (1995) supra).

Vimentin

Vimentin is found in cells of mesenchymal origin.

Nestin

Nestin is expressed in two major cell types: progenitor cells of the developing nervous system and cells in developing skeletal muscle (Sejersen and Lendahl (1993) J. Cell Sci. 106:1291- 1300). Later in development, nestin is replaced by NF proteins in the CNS and by desmin in skeletal muscle.

Neuronal Intermediate Filaments and Neurodegenerative Diseases:

Neuronal intermediate filaments (NIFs) have been linked to a number of neurodegenerative diseases. Abnormal depositions of NIFs (often called spheroids or Lewy bodies) is a phenomenon observed in many neurodegenerative diseases (Table 1). Table 1. Human Diseases with Abnormal NIF Accumulations

Disease Abnormalities Prevalence

ALS NIF depositions in motor neurons 70% of cases

Parkinson's disease Lewy bodies in substantia nigra and locus 100% of cases coreuleus Alzheimer's disease Cortical Lewy bodies 20% of cases

Lewy body Dementia Cortical Lewy bodies

Guam-Parkinsonism NIF depositions in motor neurons 100% of cases

Giant Axonal Neuropathy NIF accumulations in peripheral axons Peripheral Neuropathies NIF accumulations in peripheral axons that can be induced by various toxic agents, such as IDPN, hexanedione, acrylamide

As an example, there is evidence that NIFs play a central role in motor neuron diseases such as amyo trophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS is an adult-onset and heterogeneous neurological disorder that affects primarily motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. The degeneration of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord leads to denervation atrophy of skeletal muscles and, ultimately, to paralysis and death. Although multiple genetic and environmental factors may be implicated in ALS, the striking similarities in the clinical and pathological features of sporadic

ALS and familial ALS suggest that similar mechanisms of disease may occur.

A characteristic pathological finding in ALS patients is the presence of abnormal NIF accumulations in the cell body and proximal axon of surviving motor neurons. These NIF accumulations have been viewed as a marker of neuronal dysfunction, perhaps reflecting defects in axonal transport.

Peripherin has been shown to accumulate in the large spinal axonal swellings (spheroids) of motor neuron disease (Corbo and Hays (1992) J. Neuropath. Exp. Med. 51:531-537) and in some spheroids in patients with ALS (Migheli etai, (1993) Lab. Invest. 68:185-191).

A mutant form of the human copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD) gene is responsible for 2% of ALS cases (Gumey etai, (1994) Science 264:1772-1775). Transgenic mice expressing the human SOD1 mutation develop a motor neuron disease similar to ALS, in which neuronal swellings occur. These swellings are rich in NFs, but also contain peripherin and α-internexin (TVL etai., (1996) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 93(7):3155-3160). NIFs are also implicated in Parkinson's disease. The pathological hallmark of idiopathic Parkinson's disease is the presence of Lewy bodies (LBs), cytoplasmic inclusions made up of altered NF proteins. These LBs are located in neurons of the substantia nigra. A subset of demented elderly patients also exhibit LB-like inclusions in their cortical neurons. The mechanisms involved in the abnormal aggregation of NIF proteins to form LBs are still unknown. It has been found that levels of NIF mRNAs in substantia nigra neurons are reduced in Parkinsonian patients as compared to age-matched controls. There is also reduced NIF synthesis in LB-containing neurons.

In patients with Alzheimer's disease, cortical LBs are present in approximately 20% of cases.

Abnormal accumulations of NIFs in distinct regions of the neuron also occur in a variety of other disorders, including an inherited giant axonal neuropathy (Carpenter etai, (1974)). Giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) is a comparatively rare neurologic disorder affecting humans and dogs. Neurofilaments collect in focal accumulations at the distal ends of nerves in the peripheral and central nervous systems. These accumulations, which are found multifocally along a single axon, consist of massive collections of abnormally oriented and whorled NIFs.

Abnormal accumulations of NIFs are also present in toxic neuropathies induced by β,β'- iminodipropionitrile (IDPN), 2,5-hexanedione, acrylamide, and aluminum.

The mechanisms underlying the abnormal aggregation of NIF proteins in neurodegenerative diseases are still unknown. It is very interesting, however, that decreased levels of NIF mRNA are associated with degenerative neurons in ALS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Intermediate Filaments and Injury:

Following injury in mammals, peripheral nervous system (PNS) axons have the capacity to regenerate, whereas central nervous system (CNS) neurons have limited axonal outgrowth. It is widely believed that NiFs are required for axonal regeneration following injury. This notion is based on the observation that NIF mRNAs decrease two to threefold following axotomy. Although NIFs are present in the CNS, their numbers, which are much lower than in the PNS, may not be sufficient to sustain axonal outgrowth.

It has been suggested that peripherin and α-internexin play a role in the regeneration of axons (Chadanetfl/., (1994) J. Neurosci. Res. 39(2):127-139; Balin andMiller (1995) J. Neurosci. Res. 40(l):79-88).

Intermediate Filaments and Aging:

Aging is a factor that may contribute to axonal atrophy. There is a normal decline (50-60%) in NIF mRNA expression with aging (Parhad etai, (1995) J. Neurosci. Res. 41:355-366). The resulting decrease in NIFs may be linked to axonal atrophy and a reduced capacity for compensatory axonal outgrowth during aging. Methods of enhancing neuronal regeneration could attenuate the aging process.

The above discussion shows that self -polymerizing NIF proteins are involved in neuronal regeneration and are necessary for the generation and maintenance of axons. As well, decreased levels of NIFS are associated with degenerative neurons in ALS, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as with aging and injury; thus, there is a need for a means of delivering self-polymerizing NIF proteins to neurons requiring regeneration.

Gene Therapy

Gene transfer techniques can be used to modify cells, such as those of the nervous system, in culture and in vivo. Several techniques have been developed to insert DNA into desired host cells, including the use of viruses, microinjection, physical and chemical treatments, and membrane fusion. For example, DNA can be introduced into a host cell by protoplast fusion (Yoakum (1984) Biotechniques 2:24-26, 28-30), or by micro-injection (Spandidos etai, (1985) Eur. J. Cell. Biol. 37:234-239; Folger et ai, (1982) Molec. Cell. Biol. 2:1372-1387; Gordon et al., (1980) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77:7380-7384). Unfortunately, the above-described techniques are relatively inefficient and unsuitable for use in situations that require that the recombinant molecule be introduced into all or most of the cells present in culture or in an animal.

Viral vectors have been employed in order to increase the efficiency of introducing DNA into host cells. A viral vector, as that term is used herein, is a nucleic acid molecule (preferably of DNA) in which a gene sequence (which is to be transferred) is fused to a subset of viral sequences. Viral expression vectors have been developed using DNA viruses, such as papovaviruses (ie. SV40), adenoviruses, herpes viruses, and poxviruses (ie. vaccinia virus,), and RNA viruses, such as retroviruses. The viral sequences and the total genome size are selected such that the vector is capable of being encapsulated in a virus particle and thus is capable of binding to, and introducing its gene sequences into a virus-sensitive host cell. The infective properties of such a virion are, thus, the same as those containing the wild type viral genome.

Most of the approved gene transfer trials in humans rely on retroviral vectors for gene transduction. Retroviral vectors in this context are retroviruses from which all viral genes have been removed or altered so that no viral proteins are made in cells infected with the vector. Viral replication functions are provided by the use of retrovirus packaging cells, which produce all of the viral proteins but do not produce infectious virus. Introduction of the retroviral vector DNA into packaging cells results in production of virions that carry vector RNA and can infect target cells, but no further virus spread occurs after infection. To distinguish this process from a natural virus infection where the virus continues to replicate and spread, the term transduction rather than infection is often used.

The major advantages of retroviral vectors for gene therapy are the high efficiency of gene transfer into replicating cells, the precise integration of the transferred genes into cellular DNA, and the lack of further spread of the sequences after gene transduction (Miller (1992) Nature, 357:455-460). The use of retroviral vectors is limited, however, since both cell division and DNA synthesis are required in order for the provirus to integrate into the host genome; thus, retroviral vectors can only be used in dividing cells, not in neurons. [Methods for introducing gene sequences into neuronal cells are reviewed by Breakefield etai, (1987) Molec. Neurobiol. 1:339-371, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.] Non-retroviral vectors are being studied for use in genetic therapy. One such alternative is the herpes simplex virus (HSV) (Wolfe etai., (1992) Nature Genetics 1 :379-384). HSV-1 has a wide host range, and infects many cell types in mammals and birds, including chickens, rats, mice, monkeys, and humans (Spear et al., DNA Tumor Viruses, J. Tooze, Ed. (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 1981) 615-746). HSV-1 infects post-mitotic neurons in adult animals and can be maintained indefinitely in a latent state (Stevens (1975) Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology 70:31). It has been suggested that HSV-1 be used as a vector for transferring the HGPRT gene into neuronal cells (Palella et al., (1988) Molec. Cell. Biol. 8:457-460). US Patent No. 5501979 provides a recombinant specific HSV-1 vector capable of infecting neuronal cells.

Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is a defective member of the parvovirus family. The AAV genome is encapsidated as a single-stranded DNA molecule of plus or minus polarity (Bems and Rose (1970) 7. Virol. 5:693-699; Blackow etai, (1967) J. Exp. Med. 115:755-763). Strands of both polarities are packaged, but in separate virus particles (Bems and Adler (1972) Virology 9:394-396); both strands are infectious (Samulski et al., (1987) J. Virol. 61:3096-3101).

Efficient replication of AAV requires coinfection with a helper virus such as adenovirus. herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, or vaccinia virus; hence, the classification of AAV as a defective virus. AAV vector systems are described in US Patent Nos. 4,797,368, 5,436,146. 5,436,146, and 5,478,745.

The adenovirus is also being studied as a vector for gene transfer (Rosenfeld et al., (1992) Cell

68:143-155; Jaffe et ai., (1992) Nature Genetics 1:372-378; Lemarchand et al., (1992) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:6482-6486). Major advantages of adenovirus vectors are their potential to carry large segments of DNA (36 Kb genome), their ability to produce very high titres, and their ability to infect non-replicating cells. Adenovirus vectors for use in gene therapy have been claimed in US Patent Nos. 5,585,362, 5,559,099, and 5,543,328.

Adenovirus vectors have been used to deliver genes to the central nervous system (Betz etai., (1995) /. Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 15(4):547-551; Akli et al., (1993) Nature Genetics 3(3):224-228), and to neurons (Levallois etai, (1994) Comptes Rendus de I Academie des Sciences - Serie III, Sciences de la Vie 317(6):495-8; Doran et al., (1995) Neurosurgery 36:965-970; Hermens et ai, (1997) J. Neurosci. Meth. 71:85-98).

Recently, a recombinant adenoviral vector was constructed encoding the rat NF-M gene (Terada et ai, (1996) Science 273:784-788). This vector was used to transfect the fourth lumbar (L4) dorsal root ganglion neurons of both normal and transgenic mice. The resulting NF-M proteins were observed to copolymerize into the endogenous intermediate filament network. As well, the NF-M proteins were transported into sciatic nerve axons.

This review of NIFs, neurodegenerative disorders, and viral vectors illustrates that there is aneed for a means of introducing self-polymerizing NIF proteins into cells.

This background information is provided for the purpose of making known information believed by the applicant to be of possible relevance to the present invention. No admission is necessarily intended, nor should be construed, that any of the preceding information constitutes prior art against the present invention. Publications referred to throughout the specification are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties in this application.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide recombinant viral vectors for the introduction of self-polymerizing NIFs into cells.

To meet the needs noted above, recombinant viral vectors encoding self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filaments have been created. These vectors can be used in vivo and in vitro. In particular, these vectors can be used in gene therapy to deliver self-polymerizing NIFs to subjects with neurodegenerative diseases, neural injuries, and neural degeneration due to aging.

One embodiment of the present invention provides for recombinant viral vectors for infecting target cells comprising: a) the DNA of, or corresponding to, at least a portion of the genome of a virus which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament (NIF) gene or portion thereof operatively linked to the viral genome and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a recombinant adenovirus vector Ad5-mPer.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a recombinant adenovirus vector Ad5-hPer.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a use of a recombinant viral vector for infecting target cells comprising: a) the DNA of, or corresponding to. at least a portion of the genome of a virus, which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self-polymerizing NIF gene or portion thereof operatively linked to the DNA and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a subject, comprising administering to the subject an effective amount of the recombinant viral vector.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention, there is provided a use of a recombinant viral vector for infecting target cells comprising: a) the DNA of, or corresponding to, at least a portion of the genome of a virus, which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self-polymerizing NIF gene or portion thereof operatively linked to the DNA and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a cell, comprising in vitro administration of an effective amount of the recombinant viral vector to the cell.

The virus may be an adenovirus, a herpes simplex virus, an adeno-associated virus, an AIDS virus, a retrovirus, or any other suitable virus. Preferably, the viral genome is replication- defective. In a preferred embodiment, the virus is the human adenovirus serotype 5 mutant dl309. The self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament gene may be any mammalian peripherin, α-intemexin, vimentin, or nestin gene that self-polymerizes into a homopolymer intermediate filament. In a specific embodiment, the self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament gene is the mouse peripherin gene. In another specific embodiment, the self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament gene is the human peripherin gene.

The target cells may be any animal cell, including human and mammalian cells. In a specific embodiment of the present invention, the target cell is a non-mitotic cell, such as a neuron.

In a preferred specific embodiment of the present invention, the recombinant viral vector is Ad5- mPer.

In another preferred specific embodiment of the present invention, the recombinant viral vector is Ad5-hPer.

Another embodiment of the present invention provides for the above recombinant viral vectors further comprising an appropriate promoter sequence. Any suitable promoter or any portion thereof may be employed to mediate expression, including an NIF gene's own promoter, an NF- L gene minimal promoter, an NF-H gene minimal promoter, other neuron-specific promoters such as α-tubulin, NSE, Thy-1, or prion. or viral promoters such as CMV or SV40.

Preferably, the promoter sequence is neuron-specific. In a specific preferred embodiment, the promoter sequence is the human NIF gene minimal promoter.

In a further embodiment, the present invention provides for cells that have been transfected with any of these recombinant viral vectors, which express a normal self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament gene.

In yet another embodiment, the present invention provides a use of the recombinant viral vectors to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a subject, comprising administering to the subject an effective amount of the recombinant viral vector. The subject can be any animal, including mammals. Preferably, the subject is human.

In a particular embodiment, the recombinant viral vectors are used to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a subject having a neurodegenerative disorder, such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, or Parkinson's disease.

In another particular embodiment, the recombinant viral vectors are used to deliver a self- polymerizing NIF gene to a subject having a neural injury.

In yet another particular embodiment, the recombinant viral vectors are used to deliver a self- polymerizing NIF gene to a sυbject requiring axonal regeneration as a result of disease, injury, or aging.

In a further embodiment, the recombinant viral vectors are used to deliver a self-polymerizing

NIF gene to a subject having neurodegeneration associated with oxidative stress involvement.

In yet a further embodiment, the recombinant viral vectors are used to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a subject requiring the restoration of calcium ion homeostasis. The calcium ion homeostasis may be a result of neurodegeneration.

In a further embodiment, the recombinant viral vectors of the present invention are employed in conjunction with an effective amount of a recombinant viral vector encoding another neuronal intermediate filament protein, such as NF-L or NF-H.

Altematively, the recombinant viral vectors of the present invention may be employed to infect a desired cell line in vitro, whereby the infected cells produce a desired self-polymerizing NIF protein in vitro.

Altematively, the recombinant viral vectors of the present invention may be employed to infect a desired cell line in vitro, whereby the infected cells produce a desired self-polymerizing NIF in vitro. Various other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the detailed description of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1. The genomic structure of the Ad5-mPer viral vector.

Figure 2. Shuttle Plasmid pXCJL.2

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The following terms and abbreviations are used throughout the specification and in the claims:

"infection" is generally meant the process by which a virus transfers genetic material to its host or target cell.

"normal gene" means any nucleic acid sequence which codes for a functional gene protein; thus, variations in the actual sequence of the gene can be tolerated provided that functional protein can be expressed. An NIF gene used in the practice of the present invention can be obtained through conventional methods such as DNA cloning, artificial construction or other means.

"mutation" means any alteration of the DNA including, but not limited to, deletions, insertions, and missense and nonsense mutations.

"promoter" means a region of DNA involved in binding of RNA polymerase to initiate transcription.

The present invention provides viral vectors encoding self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament proteins, or fragments thereof.

A recombinant viral vector of the present invention comprises: a) at least a portion of the genome of a virus which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self- polymerizing neuronal intermediate filament gene, or portion thereof, operatively linked to the viral genome and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro.

Viruses: Generally any virus capable of infection and gene transfer can be employed in the present invention. Suitable viruses for this invention include adenoviruses, adeno-associated virus, herpes simplex viruses, the AIDS vims, and retroviruses well known to those skilled in the art.

The viral vector employed may, in one embodiment, be an adenoviral vector that includes essentially the complete adenoviral genome (Shenk et al., (1984) Curr. Topics Microbiol. Immun. l l l(3):l-39). Alternatively, the viral vector may be a modified adenoviral vector in which at least a portion of the adenoviral genome has been deleted. Preferably, the viruses used in the construction of viral vectors are rendered replication-defective to remove the effects of viral replication on the target cells.

Neuronal Intermediate Filaments: Generally, any mammalian NIF capable of self-polymerization in neurons can be employed in the present invention. Examples of NIFs that can self-polymerize include peripherin, α- internexin, vimentin, and nestin. Preferably, the NIF is a human or mouse NIF. The DNA sequences can be either cDNA or genomic DNA. DNA encoding the entire NIF protein, or any portion thereof, may be used. Due to the degeneracy of the genetic code, other DNA sequences that encode substantially the same NIF protein or a functional equivalent can also be used.

Multiple gene copies may also be used.

When the vectors of the present invention are used todeliver NIFs to human subjects with neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, the self -polymerizing NIF is preferably human.

Promoters: The DNA sequences encoding NIFs are under the control of a suitable promoter. Any suitable promoter may be employed to mediate expression, including an NIF gene's own promoter, an NF-L gene minimal promoter, an NF-H gene minimal promoter, other neuron-specific promoters such as α-tubulin, NSE, Thy-1, or prion, or viral promoters such as CMV or SV40.

The use of the NIF gene ' s own promoter is preferred when neuron-specific expression of the NIF is desired.

Construction:

In order to produce the gene constructs used in the invention, recombinant DNA and cloning methods, which are well known to those skilled in the art, may be utilized (see Sambrook etai, Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual, 2d ed. (New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1989), including the use of restriction enzymes, site directed mutagenesis, ligation, homologous recombination, and transfection techniques. Appropriate NIF coding sequences may be generated from cDNA or genomic clones.

Example

In one embodiment of the present invention, the recombinant vector is an adenoviral vector comprising a mouse peripherin expression cassette. The vector is free of the adenoviral El DNA sequences. The expression cassette comprises the CMV promoter, genomic DNA sequences of the mouse peripherin gene, and the mouse peripherin polyadenylation signal.

Such vectors may be constructed by removing the El region from the adenovirus using standard techniques, which renders the virus replication defective. The El region in then replaced by DNA encoding the mouse peripherin gene with its polyadenylation signal and the CMV promoter. This may be achieved by first inserting the mouse peripherin expression cassette into a shuttle plasmid using standard ligation techniques. The shuttle plasmid will contain DNA sequences homologous to the adenovirus genome, which serve as a substrate for homologous recombination with the modified adenovirus. Such sequences may encompass, for example, a segment of the adenovims 5 genome from base 3329 to base 6246 of the genome. The shuttle plasmid may also include a selectable marker and an origin of replication. The origin of replication may be a bacterial origin of replication. Representative examples of such shuttle plasmids include pXCJL.2, shown in Figure 2. Homologous recombination is then effected with the modified adenovims in which the majority of the El adenoviral DNA sequences have been deleted. Upon homologous recombination, a recombinant adenovims vector is formed which includes DNA sequences derived from both the shuttle plasmid and the modified adenovims. Such homologous recombination may be effected through co-transfection of the shuttle plasmid and the modified adenovirus into a helper cell line by calcium phosphate precipitation. The helper cell line may be 293 cells, which are permissive for adenoviruses deleted in the El region.

Use:

As discussed earlier, decreased levels of NIF mRNAs are associated with degenerating neurons in neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in aging. Self-polymerizing NIFs may be able to replace NFs and restore the intermediate filament network in neurons. Also, self -polymerizing

NIFs play a role in axonal outgrowth and regeneration. The viral vectors of the present invention can thus be used to deliver self-polymerizing NIF proteins to cells in order to prevent against and treat neurodegeneration.

The viral vectors of the present invention may be used to transfect any cells in which the delivery and expression of a self-polymerizing NIF gene is desired.

The adenovirus vectors of the present invention can be used in gene therapy to deliver self- polymerizing NIFs to subjects with various neurodegenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, or Parkinson's disease.

The adenovirus vectors of the present invention can also be used in gene therapy to deliver self- polymerizing NIFs to subjects requiring axonal regeneration because of neural injury or aging.

The recombinant viral vectors of the present invention can also be used in conjunction with other viral vectors encoding neuronal intermediate filaments, including the neurofilament heavy protein, in order to slow down disease with oxidative stress involvement, and the neurofilament light protein, in order to increase the levels of NIFs in neurons. In order to transfect cells, the cells are put in contact with a suspension containing a recombinant vector of the present invention. Upon cell contact, the vector enters the cell, the vector genome is transported into the cell nucleus, the neuronal intermediate filament gene is transcribed, and the mRNA translated into protein in the cell cytoplasm.

When used in gene therapy to deliver self-polymerizing NIFs to subjects with neurodegenerative disorders or subjects requiring axonal regeneration because of neural injury or aging, the cells targeted are preferably neurons. Subjects may be animals, including mammals and humans.

Administration:

It will be appreciated that administration of the viral vectors of the present invention will be by procedures well established in the pharmaceutical arts, e.g. by direct delivery to the target organ, tissue or site, intranasally, intravenously, intramuscularly, subcutaneously, intradermally and through oral administration, either alone or in combination.

Preferably, the viral vectors are administered by injecting vector suspension into various locations of the nervous system, or by injection into nerves, or injection into peripheral tissues such as skin or muscles, which are innervated by neurons. In the latter case, the vector enters the neurons via the axons or axon terminals, and the vector genome is transported retrogradely in the axon to the nucleus.

Formulations:

It will be appreciated that formulations suitable for administration of the viral vectors of the present invention include aqueous and non-aqueous isotonic sterile injection solutions and aqueous and non-aqueous sterile suspensions.

Pharmaceutically acceptable excipients are also well-known to those who are skilled in the art, and are readily available. The choice of excipient will be determined in part by the particular method used to administer the recombinant viral vector. Accordingly, there is a wide variety of suitable formulations for use in the context of the present invention. The following methods and excipients are merely exemplary and are in no way limiting. Formulations suitable for oral administration can consist of (a) liquid solutions, such as an effective amount of the compound dissolved in diluents, such as water, saline, or orange juice;, (b) capsules, sachets or tablets, each containing a predetermined amount of the active ingredient, as solids or granules; (c) suspensions in an appropriate liquid; and (d) suitable emulsions. Tablet forms can include one or more of lactose, mannitol, com starch, potato starch, macrocrystalline cellulose, acacia, gelatin, colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, talc, magnesium stearate, stearic acid, and other excipients, colorants, diluents, buffering agents, moistening agents, preservatives, flavoring agents, and pharmacologically compatible excipients. Lozenge forms can comprise the active ingredient in a flavor, usually sucrose and acacia or tragacanth, as well as pastilles comprising the active ingredient in an inert base, such as gelatin and glycerin, or sucrose and acacia, emulsions, gels, and the like containing, in addition to the active ingredient, such excipients as are known in the art.

The recombinant viral vector of the present invention, alone or in combination with other suitable components, can be made into aerosol formulations to be administered via inhalation. These aerosol formulations can be placed into pressurized acceptable propellants, such as dichlorodifluoromethane, propane, nitrogen, and the like. They may also be formulated as pharmaceuticals for non-pressured preparations such as in a nebulizer or an atomizer.

Additionally, the recombinant viral vectors of the present invention may be made into suppositories by mixing with a variety of bases such as emulsifying bases or water-soluble bases.

Formulations suitable for parenteral administration include aqueous and non-aqueous, isotonic sterile injection solutions, which can contain anti-oxidants, buffers, bacteriostats, and solutes that render the formulation isotonic with the blood of the intended recipient, and aqueous and non- aqueous sterile suspensions that can include suspending agents, solubilizers, thickening agents, stabilizers, and preservatives. The formulations can be presented in unit-dose or multi-dose sealed containers, such as ampules and vials, and can be stored in a freeze-dried (lyophilized) condition requiring only the addition of the sterile liquid excipient. for example, water, for injections, immediately prior to use. Extemporaneous injection solutions and suspensions can be prepared from sterile powders, granules, and tablets of the kind previously described.

Dosages:

The dosages administered will vary from subject to subject and will be determined by the level of enhancement of self-polymerizing NIF function balanced against any risk or deleterious side effects. Monitoring levels of transduction, self-polymerizing NIF expression and/or the presence or levels of normal self-polymerizing NIF will assist in selecting and adjusting the dosages administered.

When used as a therapeutic, a therapeutically effective dosage of the vectors of the present invention will be administered for a therapeutically effective duration. By "therapeutically effective amount" and "therapeutically effective duration" is meant an amount and duration sufficient to achieve a selected desired result in accordance with the present invention without undue adverse or with medically acceptable physiological effects, which can be determined by those skilled in the medical arts.

The dose administered to an animal, particularly a human, in the context of the present invention will vary with the gene of interest, the composition employed, the method of administration, and the particular site and organism being treated; however, the dose should be sufficient to effect a therapeutic response.

In vitro use:

In addition to use in vivo, the viral vectors of the present invention also have utility in vitro. Cell populations with defective self-polymerizing NIF genes can be removed from a subject or otherwise provided, transduced with a normal self-polymerizing NIF gene in accordance with the principles of the invention, then (re) introduced into the subject.

The viral vectors of the present invention are also useful as a research model. The vectors may be employed to infect desired cell lines in vitro, whereby the infected cells produce self- polymerizing NIFs in vitro. Such cell lines are useful to study therapeutic approaches to treating neurodegenerative diseases or neuronal injury and to research neuronal physiology in both normal and disease states.

Improvement over Current Tools:

The recombinant viral vectors of the present invention provide an efficient way to deliver high- level expression of self -polymerizing NIFs to cells in vivo and in vitro. Specifically, they provide a means of efficient gene transfer to neurons.

The present invention is described in further detail in the following non-limiting examples. It is to be understood that the examples described below are not meant to limit the scope of the present invention. It is expected that numerous variants will be obvious to the person skilled in the art to which the present invention pertains, without any departure from the spirit of the present invention. The appended claims, properly construed, form the only limitation upon the scope of the present invention.

EXAMPLE I CONSTRUCTION OF THE Ad5-mPer VECTOR

A defective adenovims vector was created containing an expression cassette for the mouse peripherin gene (Ad5-mPer). The adenovims vector was derived from the human adenovims serotype 5 (Ad5) mutant rf/309 (Jones and Shenk (1979) Cell 17:683-689), by creating a deletion in the early region 1 (El) from nucleotides 452 to 3328 (based on the wild-type Ad5 sequence); this deletion rendered the vims replication defective. A stretch of DNA containing the coding sequence of the mouse peripherin gene with its polyadenylation signal and a CMV promoter (mPer) was first inserted into a pXCJL.2 shuttle plasmid, having sequences homologous to the

Ad5 genome. This generated the plasmid pXCJLmPer, which was used to insert the mPer fragment into the adenovims by homologous recombination. The resulting Ad5-mPer plasmid is shown in Figure 1.

Materials: All res triction enzymes and T4 DNA ligase were obtained from Bethesda Research Laboratories

(BRL) (Burlington, ON, Canada). The pXCJL.2 shuttle plasmid, the pJM17 plasmid and 293N3S cells were obtained from Dr. Frank Graham (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada). 293 Cells were obtained from Dr. Philip Branton (McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Canada). Molecular weight markers, agarose, and low-melting agarose were purchased from BRL. Glassmilk kits were obtained from Bio 101 (Vista, CA). Dulbecco's modified Eagle Medium (DMEM), fetal calf serum, and horse serum were purchased from Gibco. Jocklik- modif ied DMEM was obtained from Sigma. Yeast extract was obtained from Difco. The Qiagen maxiprep kit was obtained from Qiagen (Chats worth, CA). Geneclean was obtained from Bio- Can.

Preparation of the mPer gene fragment: A four kilobase Eco47III-ApaI fragment, containing the complete sequence for the mouse peripherin gene surrounded by 27 base pairs from the 5' non-coding sequence and about 600 base pairs from the 3' non-coding sequence, was derived from a bacteriophage clone (kindly supplied by Dr. Andre Royal from the Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Canada). Following digestion with Eco47III and Apal, the sample was run in a horizontal agarose gel according to standard techniques (Sambrook et al., (1989) Molecular Cloning: a laboratory manual (Cold Spring

Harbor Laboratory: Cold Spring Harbor, NY)). Molecular weight markers and undigested DNA were run in the same gel as controls. Following ethidium-bromide staining, the gel was photographed under UV illuminationusing a polaroid camera. The 4 kb Eco47III-ApaI fragment was purified using the Glassmilk kit according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The 4 kb Eco47III-ApaI fragment was subcloned downstream of the CMV promoter in the pRC/CMV vector (Stratagene).

The mPer-CMV construct was then separated from the vector by an Apal, Sail digestion, during which the Apal site was rendered blunt using DNA polymerasel Klenow fragment. This resulted in a 4.9 kilobase mPer fragment.

Preparation of Shuttle Plasmid:

5 μl pXCJL.2 (approximately 2.5 μg) was digested with with Sail and Xba-I. Following digestion, the sample was run in a horizontal agarose gel according to standard techniques (Sambrook et al., (1989) supra). Molecular weight markers and undigested DNA were run in the same gel as controls. Following ethidium-bromide staining, the gel was photographed under UV illumination using a polaroid camera. The blunt Sall-Xba-I fragment of pXCJL.2 was purified using the Glassmilk kit according to the manufacturer's instructions.

The 4.9 kb mPer DNA fragment was ligated with the blunt Sall-Xba-I fragment of pXCJL.2.

1 μl (approximately 1 ng) of the 4.9 mPer fragment was ligated with 1 μl (approximately 1 ng) of the pXCJL.2 fragment in a reaction mix containing 1 unit of T4 DNA ligase and 2 μl 5X ligation buffer in a final volume of 10 μl; the reaction was performed at 4°C overnight. 5 μl of the ligation product was transformed into E. coli strain DH5 bacteria and plated. Ten ampicillin- resistant colonies were selected and grown in Luria-Broth medium according to standard techniques (Sambrook et al., (1989) supra) .

Small scale extractions of plasmid DNA were performed using an alkaline lysis protocol (Sambrook et al., (1989) supra). Plasmid DNA was analysed by restriction endomuclease digestion using 10.5 μl of plasmid DNA with each of the following: A) 10 units of BamHl and 10 units of Xbal in MSB; B) 10 units of EcoRl and 10 units of Xbal in High Salt Buffer; or C)

10 units of EcoRl and 10 units of Sphl in High Salt Buffer. Each digestion was performed in a final volume of 15 μl at 37°C for a minimum of 1 hour. The digested samples were analyzed by electrophoresis in an agarose gel, ethidium-bromide staining, and photographing under UV illumination using a polaroid camera. Desired recombinants generated the following fragments: digestion A two fragments of 11.4 kb and 6.6 kb; digestion B three fragments of 500bp, lkb, and 16.5 kb; and digestion C six fragments of 500 bp, 900 bp, 1.3 kb, 1.7 kb, 2 kb, and 11.4 kb. Three plasmid preparations showed the desired fragments. Oneof them, designated pXCJLmPer was selected for subsequent use. Large scale extraction of pXCJLmPer was performed using the Qiagen maxiprep kit according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Construction of the Ad5-mPer vector:

The pJM17 vector allows insertion of DNA into the adenovims genome by homologous recombination, since it contains the genome of Ad5 <i/309 along with the pBRX plasmid at map unit 3J of the genome (McGrory et al., (1988) Virology 163:614-617). The methods for homologous recombination-mediated insertion of DNA into the adenovims genome using the pJM17 plasmid have been described (McGrory et ai, (1988) supra).

pJM17 was grown in Terrific Broth medium (Sambrook et al., (1989) supra), and a large-scale extraction was performed using the Qiagen maxiprep kit according to the manufacturer's directions.

Ten petri dishes (60mm) were plated with the 293 cells in DMEM plus 10% fetal calf serum.

The pXCJLmPer plasmid and the pJM17 plasmid were cotransfected into 293 cells using the calcium-phosphate precipitation technique. 4 μg of pJM17 DNA was mixed with 6 μg of pXCJLmPer DNA in Hepes-buffered saline (140 mM NaCl, 5 mM KC1, 1 mM Na2HPO4, 0.1% dextrose, 20 mM Hepes pH 7.05) and 125 mM CaCl2 in a final volume of 1 ml. After 20 minutes, the 0.5 ml of the precipitate was added slowly to each of two 293 plated petri dishes. The dishes were then incubated at 37 °C for 4 hours. The medium containing the precipitate was then removed and the cells in each dish were covered with 5 ml of DMEM containing 5% fetal calf serum, 1% low-melting agarose, and 2% yeast extract. The cells were then returned to the incubator until viral plaques appeared. A total of 10 petri dishes of 293 cells were transfected.

Homologous recombination between pXCJLmPer and pJM17 led to the appearance of viral plaques in transfected cells. One viral plaque, termed Ad5-mPer, was isolated from one of the petri dishes. The plaque was collected with a pipette and resuspended in 400 μl of PBS. 200 μl of the suspension was used to infect a 100 mm petri dish containing 293 cells; the remaining 200 μl was frozen. After cytopathic effects had developed (3 days) , the contents of the petri dish was centrifuged at 2000 rpm for 10 minutes, and the supernatant collection and frozen. The cells were then incubated overnight in 0.5 ml of 0.5 mg/ml pronase in 0.01M Tris, 0.01M EDTA, 0.5% SDS at 37°C. The DNA was extracted with phenol-chloroform and resuspended in 50 μl of TE buffer.

The structure of the vims was confirmed by Southern hybridization. For this purpose, 5 μl of the isolated DNA was digested with 2 μl of Bam HI and 2 μl of Xbal in BSB buffer in a final volume of 40 μl at 37°C for at least one hour. As a positive control, 1.5 μg of the pXCJLmPer was also digested with Xbal in BSB buffer at 37°C for at least one hour. As a positive control, 1.2 μg of pXCJL-BZRG6 (containing no NF sequence) was digested with Sail in OPA buffer at 37 ° C for at least one hour. After digestion, the DNA fragments and molecular weight markers were separated in an agarose gel and blotted onto a nitrocellulose membrane (Sambrook et al., (1989) supra).

A mPer DNA probe was prepared by digesting 1 μg of pXCJLmPer DNA with Bglll in React3 buffer at 37°C for at least one hour. Following digestion, the sample was run in a horizontal agarose gel according to standard techniques (Sambrook etai., (1989) supra). Molecular weight markers and undigested DNA were run in the same gel as controls. Following ethidium-bromide staining, the gel was photographed under UV illumination using a polaroid camera. A 1 kb fragment was extracted from the agarose gel and purified using Geneclean according to the manufacturer's instmctions. This fragment was nick-translated with 32P. Probe synthesis was done as described in Sambrook et al., (1989) supra.

The nitrocellulose membrane was hybridized with the mPer probe, washed, andexposedto X-ray film according to Sambrook etai., (1989) supra. A positive band was seen in both the DNA extracted from cells infected with the recombinant plaque and the pXCJLmPer plasmid, but not in the pXCJL-BZRG6 DNA, confirming insertion of the mPer expression cassette into the recombinant vims.

A purified stock of the Ad5-mPer vector was prepared as follows: the Ad5-mPer supernatant collected from the 100 mm petri dish was used to infect three 150 mm petri dishes containing a confluent layer of 293 cells, which were incubated at 37 °C. Upon development of complete cytopathic effects, the cells were harvested and freeze-thawed three times in a dry ice-ethanol bath. Large debris was removed by centrifugation at 2000g for 10 minutes. The supernatant was combined with the supernatant saved from the petri dish. This solution was then used to infect 3 x 108293N3S cells, a subclone of 293 cells that has been selected for its ability to grow in suspension cultures. The cells were grown in spinner culture in Jocklik-modified DMEM containing 5% horse semm. Once complete cytopathic effect was obtained, the cells were harvested by centrifugation at 2000g for 10 minutes, freeze-thawed three times, and cleared by low-speed centrifugation. The viral vector was then purified by two rounds of cesium chloride gradient ultracentrifugation, followed by dialysis. The solution was made 10% glycerol in 0.01M Tris pH 7.6 and titered by plaque assay on 293 cells (Graham and Prevec (1991)

Manipulation of Adenovirus Vectors).

From the foregoing description, one skilled in the art can easily ascertain the essential characteristics of this invention, and without departing from the spirit and scope thereof, can make various changes and modifications to the invention to adapt it to various usages and conditions. Such changes and modifications are properly, equitably, and intended to be within the full range of equivalence of the following claims.

Claims

WE CLAIM:
1. A recombinant viral vector for infecting target cells comprising: a) the DNA of, or corresponding to, at least a portion of the genome of a vims, which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self -polymerizing NIF gene or portion thereof operatively linked to the DNA and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro.
2. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1 , wherein the vims is selected from the group consisting of adenovims, herpes simplex vims, adeno-associated vims, AIDS vims, retrovirus, or any other suitable vims.
3. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1 , wherein the vims is human adenovims serotype
5 mutant dl309.
4. The recombinant viral vectors of any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the viral genome is replication-defective.
5. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, further comprising an appropriate promoter sequence.
6. The recombinant viral vector of claim 5, wherein the promoter sequence is neuron- specific.
7. The recombinant viral vector of claim 5, wherein the promoter sequence is selected from the group consisting of an NIF gene promoter, the human NF-L gene minimal promoter, the human NF-H gene minimal promoter, other neuron-specific promoters such as ╬▒- tubulin, NSE, Thy-1, or prion, or viral promoters such as CMV or SV40.
8. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the self-polymerizing NIF gene is a mammalian self-polymerizing NIF gene.
9. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the self-polymerizing NIF gene is a human self-polymerizing NIF gene.
10. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the self- polymerizing NIF gene is a mouse self-polymerizing NIF gene.
11. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1 , wherein the self-polymerizing NIF gene selected from the group consisting of peripherin, ╬▒-intemexin, vimentin, and nestin.
12. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the self-polymerizing NIF gene is a human peripherin gene.
13. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the self-polymerizing NIF gene is a mouse peripherin gene.
14. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the target cell is an animal cell.
15. The recombinant viral vector of claim 14, wherein the animal cell is mammalian.
16. The recombinant viral vector of claim 15, wherein the mammalian cell is human.
17. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the target cell is a non-mitotic cell.
18. The recombinant viral vector of claim 1, wherein the target cell is a neuron.
19. A recombinant adenovims vector Ad5-mPer.
20. A recombinant adenovims vector Ad5-hPer.
21. A cell transfected with any of the recombinant viral vectors of claims 1 through 20.
22. A use of a recombinant viral vector for infecting target cells comprising: a) the DNA of ,or corresponding to, at least a portion of the genome of a vims, which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self -polymerizing NIF gene or portion thereof operatively linked to the DNA and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a subject, comprising administering to the subject an effective amount of the recombinant viral vector.
23. The use of claim 22, wherein the subject is an animal.
24. The use of claim 23, wherein the animal is a mammal.
25. The use of claim 24, wherein the mammal is a human.
26. The use of claim 22, wherein the subject has a neurodegenerative disorder.
27. The use of claim 26, wherein the neurodegenerative disorder is selected from the group consisting of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
28. The use of claim 22, wherein the subject has a neural injury.
29. The use of claim 22, wherein the subject requires axonal regeneration as a result of disease, injury, or aging.
30. The use of claim 22, wherein the subject requires the restoration of calcium ion homeostasis.
31. The use of claim 30, wherein the lack of calcium ion homeostasis is a result of neurodegeneration.
32. The use of claim 22, wherein the vector is administered in conjunction with another recombinant viral vector.
33. A use of a recombinant viral vector for infecting target cells comprising: a) the DNA of, or corresponding to, at least a portion of the genome of a vims, which portion is capable of infecting the target cells; and b) a normal self-polymerizing NIF gene or portion thereof operatively linked to the DNA and capable of expression in the target cell in vivo or in vitro to deliver a self-polymerizing NIF gene to a cell, comprising in vitro administration of an effective amount of the recombinant viral vector to the cell.
PCT/CA1999/000007 1998-01-13 1999-01-13 Viral vectors expressing self-polymerizing neuronal intermediate filaments and their use WO1999036559A1 (en)

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