Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) shut down host cellular cap-dependent mRNA translation while initiating the translation of viral late mRNAs in a cap-independent manner. HAdV 5' untranslated regions (5'UTRs) are crucial for cap-independent initiation, and influence mRNA localization and stability. However, HAdV translational regulation remains relatively uncharacterized. The HAdV tripartite leader (TPL), composed of three introns (TPL 1-3), is critical to the translation of HAdV late mRNA. Herein, we annotated and analyzed 72 HAdV genotypes for the HAdV TPL and another previously described leader, the i-leader. Using HAdV species D, type 37 (HAdV-D37), we show by reverse transcription PCR and Sanger sequencing that mRNAs of the HAdV-D37 E3 transcription unit are spliced to the TPL. We also identified a polycistronic mRNA for RID-α and RID-β. Analysis of the i-leader revealed a potential open reading frame within the leader sequence and the termination of this potential protein in TPL3. A potential new leader embedded within the E3 region was also detected and tentatively named the j-leader. These results suggest an underappreciated complexity of post-transcriptional regulation, and the importance of HAdV 5'UTRs for precisely coordinated viral protein expression along the path from genotype to phenotype.
The use of viral vectors for inner ear gene therapy is receiving increased attention for treatment of genetic hearing disorders. Most animal studies to date have injected viral suspensions into neonatal ears, via the round window membrane. Achieving transduction of hair cells, or sensory neurons, throughout the cochlea has proven difficult, and no studies have been able to efficiently transduce sensory cells in adult ears while maintaining normal cochlear function. Here, we show, for the first time, successful transduction of all inner hair cells and the majority of outer hair cells in an adult cochlea via virus injection into the posterior semicircular canal. We used a "designer" AAV, AAV2/Anc80L65, in which the main capsid proteins approximate the ancestral sequence state of AAV1, 2, 8, and 9. Our injections also transduced ~10% of spiral ganglion cells and a much larger fraction of their satellite cells. In the vestibular sensory epithelia, the virus transduced large numbers of hair cells and virtually all the supporting cells, along with close to half of the vestibular ganglion cells. We conclude that this viral vector and this delivery route hold great promise for gene therapy applications in both cochlear and vestibular sense organs.