Arsenic trioxide stabilizes accumulations of adeno-associated virus virions at the perinuclear region, increasing transduction in vitro and in vivo. Academic Article uri icon


  • Interactions with cellular stress pathways are central to the life cycle of many latent viruses. Here, we utilize adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a model to study these interactions, as previous studies have demonstrated that cellular stressors frequently increase transduction of recombinant AAV (rAAV) vectors and may even substitute for helper virus functions. Since several chemotherapeutic drugs are known to increase rAAV transduction, we investigated the effect of arsenic trioxide (As(2)O(3)), an FDA-approved chemotherapeutic agent with known effects on several other virus life cycles, on the transduction of rAAV. In vitro, As(2)O(3) caused a dose-dependent increase in rAAV2 transduction over a broad range of cell lines from various cell types and species (e.g., HEK-293, HeLa, HFF hTERT, C-12, and Cos-1). Mechanistically, As(2)O(3) treatment acted to prevent loss of virions from the perinuclear region, which correlated with increased cellular vector genome retention, and was distinguishable from proteasome inhibition. To extend our investigation of the cellular mechanism, we inhibited reactive oxygen species formation and determined that the As(2)O(3)-mediated increase in rAAV2 transduction was dependent upon production of reactive oxygen species. To further validate our in vitro data, we tested the effect of As(2)O(3) on rAAV transduction in vivo and determined that treatment initiated transgene expression as early as 2 days posttransduction and increased reporter expression by up to 10-fold. Moreover, the transduction of several other serotypes of rAAV was also enhanced in vivo, suggesting that As(2)O(3) affects a pathway used by several AAV serotypes. In summary, our data support a model wherein As(2)O(3) increases rAAV transduction both in vitro and in vivo and maintains perinuclear accumulations of capsids, facilitating productive nuclear trafficking.

published proceedings

  • J Virol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Mitchell, A. M., Li, C., & Samulski, R. J

citation count

  • 29

complete list of authors

  • Mitchell, Angela M||Li, Chengwen||Samulski, R Jude

publication date

  • April 2013