J Vis Exp. 2016 Jan 28;(107):e52894.

Cloning and Large-Scale Production of High-Capacity Adenoviral Vectors Based on the Human Adenovirus Type 5.

Ehrke-Schulz E, Zhang W, Schiwon M, Bergmann T, Solanki M, Liu J, Boehme P, Leitner T, Ehrhardt A.


High-capacity adenoviral vectors (HCAdV) devoid of all viral coding sequences represent one of the most advanced gene delivery vectors due to their high packaging capacity (up to 35 kb), low immunogenicity and low toxicity. However, for many laboratories the use of HCAdV is hampered by the complicated procedure for vector genome construction and virus production. Here, a detailed protocol for efficient cloning and production of HCAdV based on the plasmid pAdFTC containing the HCAdV genome is described. The construction of HCAdV genomes is based on a cloning vector system utilizing homing endonucleases (I-CeuI and PI-SceI). Any gene of interest of up to 14 kb can be subcloned into the shuttle vector pHM5, which contains a multiple cloning site flanked by I-CeuI and PI-SceI. After I-CeuI and PI-SceI-mediated release of the transgene from the shuttle vector the transgene can be inserted into the HCAdV cloning vector pAdFTC. Because of the large size of the pAdFTC plasmid and the long recognition sites of the used enzymes associated with strong DNA binding, careful handling of the cloning fragments is needed. For virus production, the HCAdV genome is released by NotI digest and transfected into a HEK293 based producer cell line stably expressing Cre recombinase. To provide all adenoviral genes for adenovirus amplification, co-infection with a helper virus containing a packing signal flanked by loxP sites is required. Pre-amplification of the vector is performed in producer cells grown on surfaces and large-scale amplification of the vector is conducted in spinner flasks with producer cells grown in suspension. For virus purification, two ultracentrifugation steps based on cesium chloride gradients are performed followed by dialysis. Here tips, tricks and shortcuts developed over the past years working with this HCAdV vector system are presented.