Genome-sequencing projects are proceeding at a rapid pace and determining the function of open reading frames is the next great challenge. Ribozymes with site-specific cleaving activity could aid greatly in this process. High-throughput screening methods to identify optimal target sites for ribozyme cleavage will provide tools for functional genomics as well as therapeutic reagents. (+info)
Prevention of collagen-induced arthritis by gene delivery of soluble p75 tumour necrosis factor receptor.
Collagen type II-induced arthritis (CIA) in DBA/1 mice can be passively transferred to SCID mice with spleen B- and T-lymphocytes. In the present study, we show that infection ex vivo of splenocytes from arthritic DBA/1 mice with a retroviral vector, containing cDNA for the soluble form of human p75 receptor of tumour necrosis factor (TNF-R) before transfer, prevents the development of arthritis, bone erosion and joint inflammation in the SCID recipients. Assessment of IgG subclass levels and studies of synovial histology suggest that down-regulating the effector functions of T helper-type 1 (Th1) cells may, at least in part, explain the inhibition of arthritis in the SCID recipients. In contrast, the transfer of splenocytes infected with mouse TNF-alpha gene construct resulted in exacerbated arthritis and enhancement of IgG2a antibody levels. Intriguingly, infection of splenocytes from arthritic DBA/1 mice with a construct for mouse IL-10 had no modulating effect on the transfer of arthritis. The data suggest that manipulation of the immune system with cytokines, or cytokine inhibitors using gene transfer protocols can be an effective approach to ameliorate arthritis. (+info)
Deletion of multiple immediate-early genes from herpes simplex virus reduces cytotoxicity and permits long-term gene expression in neurons.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) has many attractive features that suggest its utility for gene transfer to neurons. However, viral cytotoxicity and transient transgene expression limit practical applications even in the absence of viral replication. Mutant viruses deleted for the immediate early (IE) gene, ICP4, an essential transcriptional transactivator, are toxic to many cell types in culture in which only the remaining IE genes are expressed. In order to test directly the toxicity of other IE gene products in neurons and develop a mutant background capable of longterm transgene expression, we generated mutants deleted for multiple IE genes in various combinations and tested their relative cytotoxicity in 9L rat gliosarcoma cells, Vero monkey kidney cells, and primary rat cortical and dorsal root neurons in culture. Viral mutants deleted simultaneously for the IE genes encoding ICP4, ICP22 and ICP27 showed substantially reduced cytotoxicity compared with viruses deleted for ICP4 alone or ICP4 in combination with either ICP22, ICP27 or ICP47. Infection of neurons in culture with these triple IE deletion mutants substantially enhanced cell survival and permitted transgene expression for over 21 days. Such mutants may prove useful for efficient gene transfer and extended transgene expression in neurons in vitro and in vivo. (+info)
Inducible long-term gene expression in brain with adeno-associated virus gene transfer.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors hold promise for treating a number of neurological disorders due to the ability to deliver long-term gene expression without toxicity or immune response. Critical to these endeavors will be controlled expression of the therapeutic gene in target cells. We have constructed and tested a dual cassette rAAV vector carrying a reporter gene under the control of the tetracycline-responsive system and the tetracycline transactivator. Transduction in vitro resulted in stable expression from the vector that can be suppressed 20-fold by tetracycline treatment. In vivo experiments, carried out to 6 weeks, demonstrated that vector-transduced expression is sustained until doxycycline administration upon which reporter gene expression is reduced. Moreover, the suppression of vector-driven expression can be reversed by removal of the drug. These studies demonstrate long-term regulated gene expression from rAAV vectors. This system will provide a valuable approach for controlling vector gene expression both in vitro and in vivo. (+info)
Adenoviral gene transfer into the normal and injured spinal cord: enhanced transgene stability by combined administration of temperature-sensitive virus and transient immune blockade.
This study characterized gene transfer into both normal and injured adult rat dorsal spinal cord using first (E1-/E3-) or second (E1-/E2A125/E3-, temperature-sensitive; ts) generation of replication-defective adenoviral (Ad) vectors. A novel immunosuppressive regimen aimed at blocking CD4/CD45 lymphocytic receptors was tested for improving transgene persistence. In addition, the effect of gene transfer on nociception was also evaluated. Seven days after treatment, numerous LacZ-positive cells were observed after transfection with either viral vector. By 21 days after transfection, beta-galactosidase staining was reduced and suggestive of ongoing cytopathology in both Ad-treated groups, despite the fact that the immunogenicity of LacZ/Adts appeared less when compared with that elicited by the LacZ/Ad vector. In contrast, immunosuppressed animals showed a significant (P < or = 0.05) increase in the number of LacZ-positive cells not displaying cytopathology. In these animals, a concomitant reduction in numbers of macrophages/microglia and CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes was observed. Only animals that received LacZ/Adts and immunosuppression showed transgene expression after 60 days. Similar results were observed in animals in which the L4-L5 dorsal roots were lesioned before transfection. Gene transfer into the dorsal spinal cord did not affect nociception, independent of the adenovirus vector. These results indicate that immune blockade of the CD4/CD45 lymphocytic receptors enhanced transgene stability in adult animals with normal or injured spinal cords and that persistent transgene expression in the spinal cord does not interfere with normal neural function. (+info)
Antitumor effect of allogenic fibroblasts engineered to express Fas ligand (FasL).
Fas ligand is a type II transmembrane protein which can induce apoptosis in Fas-expressing cells. Recent reports indicate that expression of FasL in transplanted cells may cause graft rejection and, on the other hand, tumor cells may lose their tumorigenicity when they are engineered to express FasL. These effects could be related to recruitment of neutrophils by FasL with activation of their cytotoxic machinery. In this study we investigated the antitumor effect of allogenic fibroblasts engineered to express FasL. Fibroblasts engineered to express FasL (PA317/FasL) did not exert toxic effects on transformed liver cell line (BNL) or colon cancer cell line (CT26) in vitro, but they could abrogate their tumorigenicity in vivo. Histological examination of the site of implantation of BNL cells mixed with PA317/FasL revealed massive infiltration of polymorphonuclear neutrophils and mononuclear cells. A specific immune protective effect was observed in animals primed with a mixture of BNL or CT26 and PA317/FasL cells. Rechallenge with tumor cells 14 or 100 days after priming resulted in protection of 100 or 50% of animals, respectively. This protective effect was due to CD8+ cells since depletion of CD8+ led to tumor formation. In addition, treatment of pre-established BNL tumors with a subcutaneous injection of BNL and PA317/FasL cell mixture at a distant site caused significant inhibition of tumor growth. These data demonstrate that allogenic cells engineered with FasL are able to abolish tumor growth and induce specific protective immunity when they are mixed with neoplastic cells. (+info)
Transcriptional regulation and induction of apoptosis: implications for the use of monomeric p53 variants in gene therapy.
The p53 tumour suppressor protein is a transcriptional activator, which can induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. p53 Gene mutations occur in more than 50% of all human tumours. Reintroduction of wild-type p53 but also of oligomerisation-independent p53 variants into tumour cells by gene transfer methods has been considered. We have investigated the biological properties of two carboxy-terminal deletion mutants of p53, p53 delta 300 (comprising amino acids 1-300) and p53 delta 326 (amino acids 1-326), to evaluate their potential deployment in gene therapy. Transactivation was measured in transiently transfected HeLa and SKBR3 cells. Both monomeric variants showed reduced activities compared with wild-type p53. Individual promoters were differently affected. In contrast to wild-type p53, monomeric variants were not able to induce apoptosis. We also provided wild-type p53 and p53 delta 326 with tetracycline-regulated promoters and stably introduced these constructs into Saos2 and SKBR3 cells. Upon induction, wild-type p53 expressing cells, but not p53 delta 326 expressing cells underwent apoptosis. Consistently, only wild-type p53 expressing cells accumulated p21/waf1/cip1 mRNA and protein and showed increased bax, Gadd45 and mdm2 mRNA. Neither wild-type p53 nor p53 delta 326 repressed the transcription of the IGF-1R gene in these cell lines. We conclude that the transactivation potential of monomeric, carboxy-terminally truncated p53 is not sufficient to cause induction of the endogenous target genes which trigger apoptosis. (+info)
Treatment of lysosomal storage disease in MPS VII mice using a recombinant adeno-associated virus.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPS VII) is a lysosomal storage disease caused by a genetic deficiency of beta-glucuronidase (GUS). We used a recombinant adeno-associated virus vector (AAV-GUS) to deliver GUS cDNA to MPS VII mice. The route of vector administration had a dramatic effect on the extent and distribution of GUS activity. Intramuscular injection of AAV-GUS resulted in high, localized production of GUS, while intravenous administration produced low GUS activity in several tissues. This latter treatment of MPS VII mice reduced glycosaminoglycan levels in the liver to normal and reduced storage granules dramatically. We show that a single administration of AAV-GUS can provide sustained expression of GUS in a variety of cell types and is sufficient to reverse the disease phenotype at least in the liver. (+info)