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Adenoviruses are common pathogens associated with respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal illnesses and/or conjunctivitis. Currently, this virus is used as a vector in gene therapy trials. The promise of viral gene therapy applications is substantially reduced because the virus is cleared by liver macrophages upon systemic administration. The mechanism underlying adenoviral tropism to and degradation in macrophages is poorly understood. We identified a new adenoviral receptor, the scavenger receptor A (SR-A), responsible for uptake of the virus in macrophages. CHO cells expressing SR-A showed increased viral transgene expression when compared with wild type cells. Preincubation of J774 macrophage cells with SR-A ligands decreased significantly adenoviral uptake. Electron-microscopy analysis of infected J774 cells showed activation of a viral degradation pathway. Infection of mice with adenovirus resulted in a substantial decrease of the virus in liver macrophages when SR-A was blocked. Our data provide a basis for understanding of the adenoviral uptake and degradation mechanism in macrophages in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of adenoviral SR-A uptake can be utilized in gene therapy applications to increase its efficiency and efficacy. © 2009 American Chemical Society.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecular Pharmaceutics

Publication Date





366 - 374