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(1/171) Suicide prodrugs activated by thymidylate synthase: rationale for treatment and noninvasive imaging of tumors with deoxyuridine analogues.

Most tumors are resistant to therapy by thymidylate synthase (TS) inhibitors due to their high levels of TS. Instead of inhibiting TS, we hypothesized that it was possible to use this enzyme to activate suicide prodrugs (deoxyuridine analogues) to more toxic species (thymidine analogues). Tumors with high levels of TS could be particularly sensitive to deoxyuridine analogues because they would be more efficient in producing the toxic methylated species. Furthermore, the accumulation of methylated species within tumors could be visualized externally if a tracer dose of the deoxyuridine analogue was tagged with an isotope, preferably a positron emitter, such as 18F. Higher accumulation of isotope indicates higher activity of TS and lower sensitivity of the tumor to TS inhibitors, but perhaps more sensitivity to therapy with deoxyuridine analogues as suicide prodrugs. 2'-F-ara-deoxyuridine (FAU) was used as a prototype to demonstrate these concepts experimentally. FAU readily entered cells and was phosphorylated, methylated, and subsequently incorporated into cellular DNA. Among different cell lines, FAU produced varying degrees of growth inhibition. Greater DNA incorporation (e.g., for CEM and U-937 cells) was reflected as increased toxicity. FAU produced less DNA incorporation in Raji or L1210 cells, and growth rate was minimally decreased. As the first demonstration that cells with high levels of TS activity can be more vulnerable to therapy than cells with low TS activity, this preliminary work suggests a new therapeutic approach for common human tumors that were previously resistant. Furthermore, it appears that the TS activity of tumors could be noninvasively imaged in situ by tracer doses of [18F]FAU and that this phenotypic information could guide patient therapy.  (+info)

(2/171) Imaging adenoviral-mediated herpes virus thymidine kinase gene transfer and expression in vivo.

The feasibility of noninvasive imaging of adenoviral-mediated herpes virus type one thymidine kinase (HSV1-tk) gene transfer and expression was assessed in a well-studied animal model of metastatic colon carcinoma of the liver. Tumors were produced in syngeneic BALB/c mice by intrahepatic injection of colon carcinoma cells (MCA-26). Seven days later, three different doses (3 x 10(8), 1 x 10(8), and 3 x 10(7) plaque-forming units (pfu) of the recombinant adenoviral vector ADV. Rous sarcoma virus (RSV)-tk bearing the HSV1-tk gene were administered by intratumoral injection in separate groups of mice. Two control groups of tumor-bearing mice received intratumoral injections of the control adenoviral vector dl-312 or buffer alone, respectively. T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) images of mice were obtained before administering the virus and provided an anatomical reference of hepatic tumor localization. Eighteen h after the virus injection, one group of animals was given i.v. injections of 300 microCi of no-carrier-added 5-[131I]-2'-fluoro-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (FIAU) and imaged 24 h later with a gamma camera. In some animals, the tumors were sampled and processed for histology and quantitative autoradiography (QAR). The gamma camera images demonstrated highly specific localization of [131I]FIAU-derived radioactivity to the area of ADV.RSV-tk-injected tumors in the liver, which was confirmed by coregistering the gamma camera and T2-weighted MR images. There was no accumulation of [131I]FIAU-derived radioactivity in tumors that were injected with the control vector or injection solution alone. A more precise distribution of radioactivity in the area of transfected tumor was obtained by histological and QAR comparisons. A heterogeneous pattern of radioactivity distribution in transfected tumors was observed. A punctate pattern of radioactivity distribution was observed in peritumoral liver tissue in animals given injections of 3 x 10(8) and 1 x 10(8) pfu of ADV.RSV-tk but not in animals given injections of 3 x 10(7) pfu nor in control animals. A QAR-microscopic comparison showed that the punctate areas of radioactivity colocalized with cholangial ducts. The level of [131I]FIAU-derived radioactivity accumulation (HSV1-tk expression) in the transfected tumors was viral dose-dependent. The viral dose-dependency of radioactivity accumulation was more pronounced in peritumoral liver, which was confirmed by reverse transcription-PCR analysis. A separate group of tumor-bearing animals received different doses of ADV.RSV-tk vector followed by treatment with ganciclovir (GCV), 10 mg/kg i.p. b.i.d. for 6 days. The ADV.RSV-tk transfected tumors significantly regressed with GCV treatment; the control tumors continued to grow. During the GCV treatment, the levels of liver transaminases (ALT and AST) were significantly increased in animals that received injections of 3 x 10(8) and 1 x 10(8) pfu of ADV.RSV-tk but not in animals that received injections of 3 x 10(7) pfu and in control animals. The observed liver toxicity confirms the results of gamma camera and QAR imaging, which demonstrated an unwanted spread of ADV.RSV-tk vector and HSV1-tk expression in peritumoral and remote liver tissue at higher doses. These and our previous results indicate that noninvasive imaging of adenoviral-mediated HSV1-tk gene expression is feasible for monitoring cancer gene therapy in patients.  (+info)

(3/171) Brca1 controls homology-directed DNA repair.

Germline mutations in BRCA1 confer a high risk of breast and ovarian tumors. The role of BRCA1 in tumor suppression is not yet understood, but both transcription and repair functions have been ascribed. Evidence that BRCA1 is involved in DNA repair stems from its association with RAD51, a homolog of the yeast protein involved in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by homologous recombination. We report here that Brca1-deficient mouse embryonic stem cells have impaired repair of chromosomal DSBs by homologous recombination. The relative frequencies of homologous and nonhomologous DNA integration and DSB repair were also altered. The results demonstrate a caretaker role for BRCA1 in preserving genomic integrity by promoting homologous recombination and limiting mutagenic nonhomologous repair processes.  (+info)

(4/171) Comparative in vitro and in vivo cytotoxic activity of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU) and its arabinosyl derivative, (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (BVaraU), against tumor cells expressing either the Varicella zoster or the Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase.

The inhibitory effects of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU) and its arabinosyl derivative (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (BVaraU) on the growth of both MDA-MB-435 human breast carcinoma and 9L rat gliosarcoma cells expressing the thymidine kinase (tk)-encoding gene of the Varicella zoster virus (VZV) or the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) were evaluated. In vitro, BVDU and BVaraU effectively killed both cell types expressing VZVtk, with 50% inhibitory concentration values ranging from 0.06 to 0.4 microM, whereas ganciclovir (GCV) lacked activity. On HSVtk+ cells, BVDU had high cytotoxic activity, with 50% inhibitory concentration values that were similar to those of GCV, whereas BVaraU was inactive. In vivo, BVDU applied intraperitoneally caused a 50% tumor growth inhibition in nude mice inoculated subcutaneously with VZVtk+ as well as HSVtk+ mammary tumor cells. In mice and at variance with the in vitro results, BVaraU had very little activity against the VZVtk+ mammary cells; GCV had the highest activity on the HSVtk+ cells, resulting in a 50% eradication of the tumors. With the 9L rat gliosarcoma model, the VZVtk/BVDU system completely failed to inhibit the development of VZVtk+ glioma tumors induced subcutaneously in syngeneic rats, although BVDU had a similar 45-minute half-life in both rats and mice. Factors other than degradation of the prodrug and related to the mode of action of these analogs are possibly involved in the observed discrepancies between the in vitro and in vivo results.  (+info)

(5/171) Functional coexpression of HSV-1 thymidine kinase and green fluorescent protein: implications for noninvasive imaging of transgene expression.

Current gene therapy technology is limited by the paucity of methodology for determining the location and magnitude of therapeutic transgene expression in vivo. We describe and validate a paradigm for monitoring therapeutic transgene expression by noninvasive imaging of the herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (HSV-1-tk) marker gene expression. To test proportional coexpression of therapeutic and marker genes, a model fusion gene comprising green fluorescent protein (gfp) and HSV-1-tk genes was generated (tkgfp gene) and assessed for the functional coexpression of the gene product, TKGFP fusion protein, in rat 9L gliosarcoma, RG2 glioma, and W256 carcinoma cells. Analysis of the TKGFP protein demonstrated that it can serve as a therapeutic gene by rendering tkgfp transduced cells sensitive to ganciclovir or as a screening marker useful for identifying transduced cells by fluorescence microscopy or fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). TK and GFP activities in the TKGFP fusion protein were similar to corresponding wild-type proteins and accumulation of the HSV-1-tk-specific radiolabeled substrate, 2'-fluoro-2'-deoxy-1beta-D-arabinofuranosyl-5-iodo-uracil (FIAU), in stability transduced clones correlated with gfp-fluorescence intensity over a wide range of expression levels. The tkgfp fusion gene itself may be useful in developing novel cancer gene therapy approaches. Valuable information about the efficiency of gene transfer and expression could be obtained by non-invasive imaging of tkgfp expression with FIAU and clinical imaging devices (gamma camera, positron-emission tomography [PET], single photon emission computed tomography [SPECT]), and/or direct visualization of gfp expression in situ by fluorescence microscopy or endoscopy.  (+info)

(6/171) Uptake of radiolabeled 2'-fluoro-2'-deoxy-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil in cardiac cells after adenoviral transfer of the herpesvirus thymidine kinase gene: the cellular basis for cardiac gene imaging.

BACKGROUND: Gene therapy is a promising approach for the treatment of cardiac diseases. Coexpression of therapeutic genes with a suitable marker gene would allow for the noninvasive imaging of successful gene transfer and expression via radiolabeled marker substrates. In the present study, such an approach was first applied to cardiac tissue. METHODS AND RESULTS: The combination of the herpesvirus thymidine kinase reporter gene (HSV1-tk) and radiolabeled 2'-fluoro-2'-deoxy-5-iodo-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil (FIAU) was evaluated. H9c2 rat cardiomyoblasts were infected in vitro with a replication-defective HSV1-tk-containing adenovirus and a negative control virus. The intracellular uptake of [(14)C]FIAU increased with increasing multiplicity of infection and with time after infection. Uptake in negative controls remained <15% of positive controls. Additionally, vectors were applied intramyocardially in Wistar rats. The marker substrate [(125)I]FIAU was injected intravenously 3 days later, and animals were killed after 24 hours. Autoradiographically, regional transgene expression was clearly identified in animals receiving the adenovirus containing HSV1-tk (3. 4+/-2.2-fold increase of radioactivity at vector administration site compared with remote myocardium), whereas nonspecific uptake in negative controls was low (<10% of positive controls). CONCLUSIONS: Using an adenoviral vector, HSV1-tk can be successfully expressed in cardiac cells in vitro and in vivo, yielding high uptake of radiolabeled FIAU. The results suggest that imaging transgene expression in the heart is feasible and may be used to monitor gene therapy noninvasively.  (+info)

(7/171) A transgenic mouse model for inducible and reversible dysmyelination.

Oligodendrocytes are glial cells devoted to the production of myelin sheaths. Myelination of the CNS occurs essentially after birth. To delineate both the times of oligodendrocyte proliferation and myelination, as well as to study the consequence of dysmyelination in vivo, a model of inducible dysmyelination was developed. To achieve oligodendrocyte ablation, transgenic animals were generated that express the herpes virus 1 thymidine kinase (HSV1-TK) gene under the control of the myelin basic protein (MBP) gene promoter. The expression of the MBP-TK transgene in oligodendrocytes is not toxic on its own; however, toxicity can be selectively induced by the systemic injection of animals with nucleoside analogs, such as FIAU [1-(2-deoxy-2-fluoro-beta-delta-arabinofuranosyl)-5-iodouracil]. This system allows us to control the precise duration of the toxic insult and the degree of ablation of oligodendrocytes in vivo. We show that chronic treatment of MBP-TK mice with FIAU during the first 3 postnatal weeks triggers almost a total depletion of oligodendrocytes in the CNS. These effects are accompanied by a behavioral phenotype characterized by tremors, seizures, retarded growth, and premature animal death. We identify the period of highest oligodendrocytes division in the first 9 postnatal days. Delaying the beginning of FIAU treatments results in different degrees of dysmyelination. Dysmyelination in MBP-TK mice is always accompanied by astrocytosis. Thus, this transgenic line provides a model to study the events occurring during dysmyelination of various intensities. It also represents an invaluable tool to investigate remyelination in vivo.  (+info)

(8/171) Kinetics of hepadnavirus loss from the liver during inhibition of viral DNA synthesis.

Hepadnaviruses replicate by reverse transcription, which takes place in the cytoplasm of the infected hepatocyte. Viral RNAs, including the pregenome, are transcribed from a covalently closed circular (ccc) viral DNA that is found in the nucleus. Inhibitors of the viral reverse transcriptase can block new DNA synthesis but have no direct effect on the up to 50 or more copies of cccDNA that maintain the infected state. Thus, during antiviral therapy, the rates of loss of cccDNA, infected hepatocytes (1 or more molecules of cccDNA), and replicating DNAs may be quite different. In the present study, we asked how these losses compared when woodchucks chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus were treated with L-FMAU [1-(2-fluoro-5-methyl-beta-L-arabinofuranosyl) uracil], an inhibitor of viral DNA synthesis. Viremia was suppressed for at least 8 months, after which drug-resistant virus began replicating to high titers. In addition, replicating viral DNAs were virtually absent from the liver after 6 weeks of treatment. In contrast, cccDNA declined more slowly, consistent with a half-life of approximately 33 to 50 days. The loss of cccDNA was comparable to that expected from the estimated death rate of hepatocytes in these woodchucks, suggesting that death of infected cells was one of the major routes for elimination of cccDNA. However, the decline in the actual number of infected hepatocytes lagged behind the decline in cccDNA, so that the average cccDNA copy number in infected cells dropped during the early phase of therapy. This observation was consistent with the possibility that some fraction of cccDNA was distributed to daughter cells in those infected hepatocytes that passed through mitosis.  (+info)