Pompe disease is a lethal cardioskeletal myopathy in infants and results from genetic deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme acid α-glucosidase (GAA). Genetic replacement of the cDNA for human GAA (hGAA) is one potential therapeutic approach. Three months after a single intramuscular injection of 108 plaque-forming units (PFU) of E1-deleted adenovirus encoding human GAA (Ad-hGAA), the activity in whole muscle lysates of immunodeficient mice is increased to 20 times the native level. Direct transduction of a target muscle, however, may not correct all deficient cells. Therefore, the amount of enzyme that can be transferred to deficient cells from virally transduced cells was studied. Fibroblasts from an affected patient were transduced with Ad-hGAA, washed, and plated on transwell culture dishes to serve as donors of recombinant enzyme. Deficient fibroblasts were plated as acceptor cells, and were separated from the donor monolayer by a 22-μm pore size filter. Enzymatic and Western analyses demonstrate secretion of the 110-kDa precursor form of hGAA from the donor cells into the culture medium. This recombinant, 110-kDa species reaches the acceptor cells, where it can be taken up by mannose 6-phosphate receptor-mediated endocytosis. It then trafficks to lysosomes, where Western analysis shows proteolytic processing to the 76- and 70-kDa lysosomal forms of the enzyme. Patient fibroblasts receiving recombinant hGAA by this transfer mechanism reach levels of enzyme activity that are comparable to normal human fibroblasts. Skeletal muscle cell cultures from an affected patient were also transduced with Ad-hGAA. Recombinant hGAA is identified in a lysosomal location in these muscle cells by immunocytochemistry, and enzyme activity is transferred to deficient skeletal muscle cells grown in co-culture. Transfer of the precursor protein between muscle cells again occurs via mannose 6-phosphate receptors, as evidenced by competitive inhibition with 5 mM mannose 6-phosphate. In vivo studies in GAA-knockout mice demonstrate that hepatic transduction with adenovirus encoding either murine or human GAA can provide a depot of recombinant enzyme that is available to heart and skeletal muscle through this mechanism. Taken together, these data show that the mannose 6-phosphate receptor pathway provides a useful strategy for cell-to-cell distribution of virally derived recombinant GAA.
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