To explore gene therapy strategies for amelogenesis imperfecta (AI), a human ameloblast-like cell population was established from third molars of an AI-affected patient. These cells were characterized by expression of cytokeratin 14, major enamel proteins and alkaline phosphatase staining. Suboptimal transduction of the ameloblast-like cells by an adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) vector was consistent with lower levels of the coxsackie-and-adenovirus receptor (CAR) on those cells relative to CAR-positive A549 cells. To overcome CAR -deficiency, we evaluated capsid-modified Ad5 vectors with various genetic capsid modifications including "pK7" and/or "RGD" motif-containing short peptides incorporated in the capsid protein fiber as well as fiber chimera with the Ad serotype 3 (Ad3) fiber "knob" domain. All fiber modifications provided an augmented transduction of AI-ameloblasts, revealed following vector dose normalization in A549 cells with a superior effect (up to 404-fold) of pK7/RGD double modification. This robust infectivity enhancement occurred through vector binding to both α vβ3/α vβ5 integrins and heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) highly expressed by AI-ameloblasts as revealed by gene transfer blocking experiments. This work thus not only pioneers establishment of human AI ameloblast-like cell population as a model for in vitro studies but also reveals an optimal infectivity-enhancement strategy for a potential Ad5 vector-mediated gene therapy for AI. © 2011 Borovjagin et al.