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Using a CRISPR Screen to identify AAV Restriction Factor

A CRISPR Screen Identifies the Cell Polarity Determinant Crumbs 3 as an Adeno-associated Virus Restriction Factor in Hepatocytes

Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are helper-dependent parvoviruses that have been developed into promising gene therapy vectors. Many studies, including a recent unbiased genomic screen, have identified host factors essential for AAV cell entry, but no genome-wide screens that address inhibitory host factors have been reported. Here, we utilized a novel CRISPR screen to identify AAV restriction factors in a human hepatocyte cell line. The major hit from our gain-of-function screen is the apical polarity determinant Crumbs 3 (Crb3). Knockout (KO) of Crb3 enhances AAV transduction, while overexpression exerts the opposite effect. Further, Crb3 appears to restrict AAV transduction in a serotype- and cell type-specific manner. Particularly, for AAV serotype 9 and a rationally engineered AAV variant, we demonstrate that increased availability of galactosylated glycans on the surfaces of Crb3 KO cells, but not the universal AAV receptor, leads to increased capsid attachment and enhanced transduction. We postulate that Crb3 could serve as a key molecular determinant that restricts the availability of AAV glycan attachment factors on the cell surface by maintaining apical-basal polarity and tight junction integrity

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