The efficiency of cancer gene therapy with recombinant adenoviruses based on serotype 5 (Ad5) has been limited partly because of variable, and often low, expression by human primary cancer cells of the primary cellular-receptor which recognizes the knob domain of the fiber protein, the coxsackie and adenovirus receptor (CAR). As a means of circumventing CAR deficiency, Ad vectors have been retargeted by utilizing chimeric fibers possessing knob domains of alternate Ad serotypes. We have reported that ovarian cancer cells possess a primary receptor for Ad3 to which the Ad3 knob binds independently of the CAR-Ad5 knob interaction. Furthermore, an Ad5-based chimeric vector, designated Ad5/3, containing a chimeric fiber proteins possessing the Ad3 knob, demonstrates CAR-independent tropism by virtue of targeting the Ad3 receptor. Based on these findings, we hypothesized that a mosaic virus possessing both the Ad5 knob and the Ad3 knob on the same virion could utilize either primary receptor, resulting in expanded tropism. In this study, we generated a dual-knob mosaic virus by coinfection of 293 cells with Ad5-based and Ad5/3-based vectors. Characterization of the resultant virions confirmed the incorporation of both Ad5 and Ad3 knobs in the same particle. Furthermore, this mosaic virus was able to utilize either receptor, CAR and the Ad3 receptor, for virus attachment to cells. Enhanced Ad infectivity with the mosaic virus was shown in a panel of cell lines, with receptor profiles ranging from CAR-dominant to Ad3 receptor-dominant. Thus, this mosaic virus strategy may offer the potential to improve Ad-based gene therapy approaches by infectivity enhancement and tropism expansion. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.