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Characterization of an oncolytic adenovirus vector constructed to target the cMet receptor

Authors Sakr H, Coleman D, Cardelli J, Mathis M

Received 26 April 2015

Accepted for publication 26 June 2015

Published 4 September 2015 Volume 2015:4 Pages 119—132


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Faris Farassati

Hany I Sakr,1–3 David T Coleman,3,4 James A Cardelli,3,4 J Michael Mathis,2,3,5

1Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, 2Gene Therapy Program, 3Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, 4Department of Microbiology and Immunology, LSU Health Shreveport, Shreveport, 5Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA

Abstract: The cMet receptor is a homodimer with tyrosine kinase activity. Upon stimulation with its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), the receptor mediates wide physiologic actions. The HGF-cMet signaling pathway is dysregulated in many cancers, which makes cMet an important target for novel therapeutic interventions. Oncolytic adenoviruses (Ads) have been used for the past three decades as a promising therapeutic approach for a wide array of neoplastic diseases. To date, achieving cancer-specific replication of oncolytic Ads has been accomplished by either viral genome deletions or by incorporating tumor selective promoters. To achieve novel specificity of oncolytic Ad infection of cancer cells that overexpress cMet, we inserted the HGF NK2 sequence, corresponding to a competitive antagonist of HGF binding to the cMet receptor, into the Ad serotype 5 (Ad5) fiber gene. The resulting vector, Ad5-pIX-RFP-FF/NK2, was rescued, amplified in HEK293 cells, and characterized. Binding specificity and viral infectivity were tested in various cancer cell lines that express varying levels of cMet and hCAR (the Ad5 receptor). We found that Ad5-pIX-RFP-FF/NK2 demonstrated binding specificity to the cMet receptor. In addition, there was enhanced viral infectivity and virus replication compared with a non-targeted Ad vector. Although NK2 weakly induces cMet receptor activation, our results showed no receptor phosphorylation in the context of an oncolytic Ad virus. In summary, these results suggest that an oncolytic Ad retargeted to the cMet receptor is a promising vector for developing a novel cancer therapeutic agent.

Keywords: bacteriophage T4 fibritin, fiber protein, gene therapy, hCAR, hepatocyte growth factor, NK2 isoform, oncolytic virotherapy, pIX protein, red fluorescent protein

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