Targeting gene expression selectively in cancer cells by using the progression-elevated gene-3 promoter.
ABSTRACT: One impediment to effective cancer-specific gene therapy is the rarity of regulatory sequences targeting gene expression selectively in tumor cells. Although many tissue-specific promoters are recognized, few cancer-selective gene promoters are available. Progression-elevated gene-3 (PEG-3) is a rodent gene identified by subtraction hybridization that displays elevated expression as a function of transformation by diversely acting oncogenes, DNA damage, and cancer cell progression. The promoter of PEG-3, PEG-Prom, displays robust expression in a broad spectrum of human cancer cell lines with marginal expression in normal cellular counterparts. Whereas GFP expression, when under the control of a CMV promoter, is detected in both normal and cancer cells, when GFP is expressed under the control of the PEG-Prom, cancer-selective expression is evident. Mutational analysis identifies the AP-1 and PEA-3 transcription factors as primary mediators of selective, cancer-specific expression of the PEG-Prom. Synthesis of apoptosis-inducing genes, under the control of the CMV promoter, inhibits the growth of both normal and cancer cells, whereas PEG-Prom-mediated expression of these genes kills only cancer cells and spares normal cells. The efficacy of the PEG-Prom as part of a cancer gene therapeutic regimen is further documented by in vivo experiments in which PEG-Prom-controlled expression of an apoptosis-inducing gene completely inhibited prostate cancer xenograft growth in nude mice. These compelling observations indicate that the PEG-Prom, with its cancer-specific expression, provides a means of selectively delivering genes to cancer cells, thereby providing a crucial component in developing effective cancer gene therapies.
Project description:Despite recent advances, treatment options for advanced prostate cancer (CaP) remain limited. We are pioneering approaches to treat advanced CaP that employ conditionally replication-competent oncolytic adenoviruses that simultaneously produce a systemically active cancer-specific therapeutic cytokine, mda-7/IL-24, Cancer Terminator Viruses (CTV). A truncated version of the CCN1/CYR61 gene promoter, tCCN1-Prom, was more active than progression elevated gene-3 promoter (PEG-Prom) in regulating transformation-selective transgene expression in CaP and oncogene-transformed rat embryo cells. Accordingly, we developed a new CTV, Ad.tCCN1-CTV-m7, which displayed dose-dependent killing of CaP without harming normal prostate epithelial cells in vitro with significant anti-cancer activity in vivo in both nude mouse CaP xenograft and transgenic Hi-Myc mice (using ultrasound-targeted microbubble (MB)-destruction, UTMD, with decorated MBs). Resistance to mda-7/IL-24-induced cell death correlated with overexpression of Bcl-2 family proteins. Inhibiting Mcl-1 using an enhanced BH3 mimetic, BI-97D6, sensitized CaP cell lines to mda-7/IL-24-induced apoptosis. Combining BI-97D6 with Ads expressing mda-7/IL-24 promoted ER stress, decreased anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 expression and enhanced mda-7/IL-24 expression through mRNA stabilization selectively in CaP cells. In Hi-myc mice, the combination induced enhanced apoptosis and tumor growth suppression. These studies highlight therapeutic efficacy of combining a BH3 mimetic with a novel CTV, supporting potential clinical applications for treating advanced CaP.
Project description:Currently, an effective gene therapy strategy, which not only retains cancer-specific expression but also limits toxicity, has yet to be developed for ovarian cancer. Mounting reports over the years have shown that human telomerase activity is significantly elevated in cancer cells compared with normal cells. In this study, we evaluated the human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT; T) promoter and showed that it can direct target gene expression preferentially in ovarian cancer cells. However, its promoter (T) activity is much lower than that of cytomegalovirus (CMV), a commonly used nonspecific promoter. To overcome this problem, we have integrated the T promoter into our recently developed VP16-Gal4-WPRE integrated systemic amplifier (VISA) system and dramatically enhanced transgene expression. In addition, to further develop this cancer-specific promoter gene expression system into an applicable therapeutic vector, we expressed E1A (an adenoviral type 5 transcription factor that possesses anticancer properties) through this novel VISA platform. We showed that the T-VISA system specifically targeted the expression of E1A to ovarian cancer cells at a level greater than or comparable with the commonly used CMV promoter, yet remained nearly silent in normal cells, thus making this a suitable gene therapy construct. By using this cancer-specific promoter that limits target gene expression in normal cells/tissues, potential toxicity induced by the CMV promoter would be prevented. More importantly, we showed significant antitumor activity with much less toxicity in animal models through i.v. delivery of T-VISA-E1A:liposomal nanoparticles, suggesting a promising role of T-VISA-E1A for ovarian cancer treatment under a gene therapy setting.
Project description:Lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death due to the high incidence of metastasis; therefore, novel and effective treatments are urgently needed. A current strategy is cancer-specific targeted gene therapy. Although many identified that cancer-specific promoters are highly specific, they tend to have low activity compared with the ubiquitous cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, limiting their application. We developed a targeted gene therapy expression system for lung cancer that is highly specific with strong activity. Our expression vector uses the survivin promoter, highly expressed in many cancers but not normal adult tissues. We enhanced the survivin promoter activity comparable to the CMV promoter in lung cancer cell lines using an established platform technology, whereas the survivin promoter remained weak in normal cells. In mouse models, the transgene was specifically expressed in the lung tumor tissue, compared with the CMV promoter that was expressed in both normal and tumor tissues. In addition, the therapeutic gene BikDD, a mutant form of pro-apoptotic Bcl2 interacting killer, induced cell killing in vitro, and inhibited cell growth and prolonged mouse survival in vivo. Importantly, there was virtually no toxicity when BikDD was expressed with our expression system. Thus, the current report provides a therapeutic efficacy and safe strategy worthy of development in clinical trials treating lung cancer.
Project description:Effective suicide gene delivery and expression are crucial to achieving successful effects in gene therapy. An ideal tumor-specific promoter expresses therapeutic genes in tumor cells with minimal normal tissue expression. We compared the activity of the FOS (FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homolog) promoter with five alternative tumor-specific promoters in glioma cells and non-malignant astrocytes. The FOS promoter caused significantly higher transcriptional activity in glioma cell lines than all alternative promoters with the exception of CMV. The FOS promoter showed 13.9%, 32.4%, and 70.8% of the transcriptional activity of CMV in three glioma cell lines (U87, U251, and U373). Importantly, however, the FOS promoter showed only 1.6% of the transcriptional activity of CMV in normal astrocytes. We also tested the biologic activity of recombinant adenovirus containing the suicide gene herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-tk) driven by the FOS promoter, including selective killing efficacy in vitro and tumor inhibition rate in vivo. Adenoviral-mediated delivery of the HSV-tk gene controlled by the FOS promoter conferred a cytotoxic effect on human glioma cells in vitro and in vivo. This study suggests that use of the FOS-tk adenovirus system is a promising strategy for glioma-specific gene therapy but still much left for improvement.
Project description:Gene expression systems with various promoters, including the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, have been developed to increase the gene expression in a variety of normal and cancer cells. In particular, in the clinical trials of cancer gene therapy, a more efficient and robust gene expression system is required to achieve sufficient therapeutic outcomes. By inserting the triple translational enhancer sequences of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT), Simian virus 40 (SV40) and CMV downstream of the sequence of the BGH polyA, we were able to develop a novel gene expression system that significantly enhances the expression of the genes of interest. We termed this novel gene expression cassette the super gene expression (SGE) system, and herein verify the utility of the SGE cassette for a replication-deficient adenoviral vector. We newly developed an adenoviral vector expressing the tumor suppressor, reduced expression in immortalized cells (REIC)/Dickkopf-3 (Dkk-3), based on the CMV promoter-driven SGE system (Ad-SGE-REIC) and compared the therapeutic utility of Ad-SGE-REIC with that of the conventional adenoviral vectors (Ad-CMV-REIC or Ad-CAG-REIC). The results demonstrated that the CMV promoter-SGE system allows for more potent gene expression, and that the Ad-SGE-REIC is superior to conventional adenoviral systems in terms of the REIC protein expression and therapeutic effects. Since the SGE cassette can be applied for the expression of various therapeutic genes using various vector systems, we believe that this novel system will become an innovative tool in the field of gene expression and gene therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Radiogenetic therapy is a novel approach in the treatment of cancer, which employs genetic modification to alter the sensitivity of tumor cells to the effect of applied radiation. AIM:To select a potent radiation inducible promoter in the context of brain tumors and to investigate if CArG radio responsive motifs or other elements in the promoter nucleotide sequences can correlate to its response to radiation. METHODS:To select initial candidates for promoter inducible elements, the levels of mRNA expression of six different promoters were assessed using Quantitative RTPCR in D54 MG cells before and after radiation exposure. Recombinant Ad/reporter genes driven by five different promoters; CMV, VEGF, FLT-1, DR5 and survivin were constructed. Glioma cell lines were infected with different multiplicity of infection of the (promoter) Ad or CMV Ad. Cells were then exposed to a range of radiation (0-12 Gy) at single fraction. Fluorescent microscopy, Luc assay and X-gal staining was used to detect the level of expression of related genes. Different glioma cell lines and normal astrocytes were infected with Ad survivin and exposed to radiation. The promoters were analyzed for presence of CArG radio-responsive motifs and CCAAT box consensus using NCBI blast bioinformatics software. RESULTS:Radiotherapy increases the expression of gene expression by 1.25-2.5 fold in different promoters other than survivin after 2 h of radiation. RNA analysis was done and has shown an increase in copy number of tenfold for survivin. Most importantly cells treated with RT and Ad Luc driven by survivin promoter showed a fivefold increase in expression after 2 Gy of radiation in comparison to non-irradiated cells. Presence or absence of CArG motifs did not correlate with promoter response to radiation. Survivin with the best response to radiation had the lowest number of CCAAT box. CONCLUSION:Survivin is a selective potent radiation inducible promoter for glioblastoma viral gene therapy and this response to radiation could be independent of CArG motifs.
Project description:For cancer gene therapy, cancer-specific over- expression of a therapeutic gene is required to reduce side effects derived from expression of the gene in normal cells. To develop such an expression vector, we searched for genes over-expressed and/or specifically expressed in cancer cells using bioinformatics and have selected genes coding for protein regulator of cytokinesis 1 (PRC1) and ribonuclease reductase 2 (RRM2) as candidates. Their cancer-specific expressions were confirmed in both breast cancer cell lines and patient tissues. We compared each promoter's cancer-specific activity in the breast normal and cancer cell lines using the luciferase gene as a reporter and confirmed cancer-specific expression of both PRC1 and RRM2 promoters. To test activities of these promoters in viral vectors, the promoters were also cloned into an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector containing green fluorescence protein (GFP) as the reporter. The GFP expression levels by these promoters were various depending on cell lines tested and, in MDA-MB-231 cells, GFP activities derived from the PRC1 and RRM2 promoters were as strong as that from the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. Our result showed that a vector containing the PRC1 or RRM2 promoter could be used for breast cancer specific overexpression in gene therapy.
Project description:The human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) promoter promotes differential hTERT gene expression in tumor cells and normal cells. However, information on the mechanisms underlying the differential hTERT transcription and induction of telomerase activity in tumor cells is limited. In the present study, suppressor of Ty homolog-5 (SPT5), a protein encoded by the SUPT5H gene, was identified as a novel tumor-specific hTERT promoter-binding protein and activator in colon cancer cells. We verified the tumor-specific binding activity of SPT5 to the hTERT promoter in vitro and in vivo and detected high expression levels of SUPT5H in colorectal cancer cell lines and primary human colorectal cancer tissues. SUPT5H was more highly expressed in colorectal cancer cases with distant metastasis than in cases without distant metastasis. Inhibition of endogenous SUPT5H expression by SUPT5H gene-specific short hairpin RNAs effectively attenuated hTERT promoter-driven green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression, whereas no detectable effects on CMV promoter-driven GFP expression in the same cells were observed. In addition, inhibition of SUPT5H expression not only effectively repressed telomerase activity, accelerated telomere shortening, and promoted cell senescence in colon cancer cells, but also suppressed cancer cell growth and migration. Our results demonstrated that SPT5 contributes to the up-regulation of hTERT expression and tumor development, and SUPT5H may potentially be used as a novel tumor biomarker and/or cancer therapeutic target.
Project description:Recombinant adeno-associated viral (AAV)-mediated therapeutic gene transfer to dorsal root ganglia (DRG) is an effective and safe tool for treating chronic pain. However, AAV with various constitutively active promoters leads to transgene expression predominantly to neurons, while glial cells are refractory to AAV transduction in the peripheral nervous system. The present study evaluated whether in vivo satellite glial cell (SGC) transduction in the DRG can be enhanced by the SGC-specific GFAP promoter and by using shH10 and shH19, which are engineered capsid variants with Müller glia-prone transduction. Titer-matched AAV6 (as control), AAVshH10, and AAVshH19, all encoding the EGFP driven by the constitutively active CMV promoter, as well as AAV6-EGFP and AAVshH10-EGFP driven by a GFAP promoter (AAV6-GFAP-EGFP and AAVshH10-GFAP-EGFP), were injected into DRG of adult male rats. Neurotropism of gene expression was determined and compared by immunohistochemistry. Results showed that injection of AAV6- and AAVshH10-GFAP-EGFP induces robust EGFP expression selectively in SGCs, whereas injection of either AAVshH10-CMV-EGFP or AAVshH19-CMV-EGFP into DRG resulted in a similar in vivo transduction profile to AAV6-CMV-EGFP, all showing efficient transduction of sensory neurons without significant transduction of glial cell populations. Coinjection of AAV6-CMV-mCherry and AAV6-GFAP-EGFP induces transgene expression in neurons and SGCs separately. This report, together with our prior studies, demonstrates that the GFAP promoter rather than capsid tropism determines selective gene expression in SGCs following intraganglionic AAV delivery in adult rats. A dual AAV system, one with GFAP promoter and the other with CMV promoter, can efficiently express transgenes selectively in neurons versus SGCs.
Project description:Of the five human Alpha-class glutathione transferases, expression of hGSTA5 has not been experimentally documented, even though in silico the hGSTA5 sequence can be assembled into a mRNA and translated. The present work was undertaken to determine whether hGSTA5 is functional.Human K562 cells were transfected with the hGSTA5 gene driven by the CMV promoter, and hGSTA5 cDNA was recovered from mature mRNA by reverse transcription. The cDNA was used in bacterial and eukaryotic protein expression systems. The resulting protein, after purification by glutathione affinity chromatography where appropriate, was tested for glutathione transferase activity.Human K562 cells transfected with the hGSTA5 gene under control of a CMV promoter produced a fully spliced mRNA which, after reverse transcription and expression in E. coli, yielded a protein that catalyzed the conjugation of the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal to glutathione. Similarly, transfection of human HEK-293 cells with the hGSTA5 gene driven by the CMV promoter led to an elevated 4-hydroxynonenal-conjugating activity in the cell lysate. In addition, translation of hGSTA5 cDNA in a cell-free eukaryotic system gave rise to a protein with 4-hydroxynonenal-conjugating activity.hGSTA5 can be processed to a mature mRNA which is translation-competent, producing a catalytically active enzyme.Because a functional gene would not be maintained in the absence of selective pressure, we conclude that the native hGSTA5 promoter is active but has a spatially or temporally restricted expression pattern, and/or is expressed only under specific (patho)physiological conditions.