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Nuclear Import Of Adeno-Associated Viruses Imaged By High-Speed Single-Molecule Microscopy

Samuel L. Junod, Jason Saredy, Weidong Yang

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Understanding the detailed nuclear import kinetics of adeno-associated virus (AAV) through the nuclear pore complex (NPC) is essential for the application of AAV capsids as a nuclear delivery instrument as well as a target for drug development. However, a comprehensive understanding of AAV transport through the sub-micrometer NPCs in live cells calls for new techniques that can conquer the limitations of conventional fluorescence microscopy and electron microscopy. With recent technical advances in single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, we are now able to image the entire nuclear import process of AAV particles and also quantify the transport dynamics of viral particles through the NPCs in live human cells. In this review, we initially evaluate the necessity of single-molecule live-cell microscopy in the study of nuclear import for AAV particles. Then, we detail the application of high-speed single-point edge-excitation sub-diffraction (SPEED) microscopy in tracking the entire process of nuclear import for AAV particles. Finally, we summarize the major findings for AAV nuclear import by using SPEED microscopy.