We compared the phenotypes of three mutant AAV2 viruses containing mutations in arginine amino acids (R585, R588 and R484) previously shown to be involved in AAV2 heparan sulfate binding. The transduction efficiencies of wild type and mutant viruses were determined in the eye, the brain and peripheral organs following subretinal, striatal and intravenous injection, respectively, in mice and rats. We found that each of the three mutants (the single mutant R585A; the double mutant R585, 588A; and the triple mutant R585, 588, 484A) had a unique phenotype compared to wt and each other. R585A was completely defective for transducing peripheral organs via intravenous injection, suggesting that R585A may be useful for targeting peripheral organs by substitution of peptide ligands in the capsid surface. In the brain, all three mutants displayed widespread transduction, with the double mutant R585, 588A displaying the greatest spread and the greatest number of transduced neurons. The double mutant was also extremely efficient for retrograde transport, while the triple mutant was almost completely defective for retrograde transport. This suggested that R484 may be directly involved in interaction with the transport machinery. Finally, the double mutant also displayed improved transduction of the eye compared to wild type and the other mutants.