Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.526, No.1, 85-90, 2020
AAV diffuses across zona pellucida for effortless gene delivery to fertilized eggs
Gene delivery to fertilized eggs is often the first step in creation of transgenic animals, CRISPR knock-out, or early developmental studies. The zona pellucida, a hardened glycoprotein matrix surrounding the mammalian fertilized eggs, often complicates gene delivery by forming a barrier against transfection reagents and viruses. High efficiency techniques to perforate or penetrate the zona allow for access and gene delivery to fertilized eggs. However, these techniques often rely on highly skilled technologists, are costly, and require specialized equipment for micromanipulation, laser perforation, or electroporation. Here, we report that adenoassociated viruses (AAVs) with serotypes 1 or DJ can efficiently diffuse across the zona to deliver genes without any manipulations to fertilized eggs. We observe lowered rates of embryo development after treatment of embryos with all AAV serotypes. However, we were able to reduce adverse effects on embryo development by exposing embryos to AAVs at later stages of in vitro development. AAVs have low immune response and do not incorporate into their host chromosomes to cause insertional mutations. Hence, AAVs can serve as a highly effective tool for transient delivery of genes to fertilized mammalian eggs. Published by Elsevier Inc.