Comparison of the efficacy of four viral vectors for transducing hypothalamic magnocellular neurosecretory neurons in the rat supraoptic nucleus

Faye C. Doherty, etc
Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 2011

Since transgenes were first cloned into recombinant adenoviruses almost 30 years ago, a variety of viral vectors have become important tools in genetic research. Viruses adeptly transport genetic material into eukaryotic cells, and replacing all or part of the viral genome with genes of interest or silencing sequences creates a method of gene expression modulation in which the timing and location of manipulations can be specific. The hypothalamo-neurohypophyseal system (HNS), consisting of the paraventricular (PVN) and supraoptic (SON) nuclei in the hypothalamus, regulates fluid balance homeostasis and is highly plastic, yet tightly regulated by extracellular fluid (ECF) osmolality and volume. Its reversible plasticity and physiological relevance make it a good system for studying interactions between gene expression and physiology. Here, four viral vectors were compared for their ability to transduce magnocellular neurosecretory neurons (MNCs) of the SON in adult rats. The vectors included an adenovirus, a lentivirus (HIV) and two serotypes of adeno-associated viruses (AAV5 and AAV2). Though adenovirus and AAV2 vectors have previously been used to transduce SON neurons, HIV and AAV5 have not. All four vectors transduced MNCs, but the AAV vectors were the most effective, transducing large numbers of MNCs, with minimal or no glial transduction. The AAV vectors were injected using a convection enhanced delivery protocol to maximize dispersal through the tissue, resulting in the transduction of neurons throughout the anterior to posterior length of the SON (~1.5mm). AAV5, but not AAV2, showed some selectivity for SON neurons relative to those in the surrounding hypothalamus.

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Journal of Neuroscience Methods
University of Colorado