Current vectors being engineered include adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, herpes virus and nonviral vectors. The goal of this project is to develop generic technologies that can target any cell type using one or more vector platforms.
One example is a technology the Virology, Vector and Vaccine Engineering Lab has developed called metabolic biotinylation. When applied to vector targeting, viral proteins are genetically tagged with biotin acceptor peptides. Therefore, any biotinylated ligand can in theory be used to target vectors. This also means that the vector needs to be genetically engineered only once, avoiding the necessity to engineer a new vector for each new ligand.
Finally, structural compatibility problems are avoided between ligands and vector proteins such that large ligands (for example, antibodies) and nonprotein ligands (for example, carbohydrate ligands, lectins, DNA and others) can now be combined with a vector by one common conjugation technology.