Intravenous gene transfer throughout the brain of infant Old World primates using AAV
Adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) can enable robust and safe gene delivery to the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). While the scientific community has developed numerous neurotropic AAV variants for systemic gene-transfer to the rodent brain, there are few AAVs that efficiently access the CNS of higher order primates. We describe here AAV.CAP-Mac, an engineered AAV variant that enables systemic, brain-wide gene delivery in infants of two Old World primate species--the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) and the green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus). We identified CAP-Mac using a multi-species selection strategy, initially screening our library in the adult common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) and narrowing our pool of test-variants for another round of selection in infant macaques. In individual characterization, CAP-Mac robustly transduces human neurons in vitro and Old World primate neurons in vivo, where it targets all lobes of cortex, the cerebellum, and multiple subcortical regions of disease relevance. We use CAP-Mac for Brainbow-like multicolor labeling of macaque neurons throughout the brain, enabling morphological reconstruction of both medium spiny neurons and cortical pyramidal cells. Because of its broad distribution throughout the brain and high neuronal efficiency in infant Old World primates compared to AAV9, CAP-Mac shows promise for researchers and clinicians alike to unlock novel, noninvasive access to the brain for efficient gene transfer.