Adenovirus for Cancer Therapy With a Focus on its Surface Modification
Abstract: Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) is widely used as an oncolytic agent for cancer therapy. However, its infectivity is highly dependent on the expression level of coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) on the surface of tumor cells. We engineered Ad5 virus with the protein transduction domain (PTD) from the HIV-1 Tat protein (Tat-PTD) inserted in the hypervariable region 5 (HVR5) of the hexon protein in the virus capsid. Tat-PTD-modified Ad5 shows a dramatically increased transduction level of CAR-negative cells and bypassed fiber-mediated transduction. It also overcomes the fiber-masking problem, which is caused by release of excess fiber proteins from infected cells. To achieve specific viral replication in neuroblastoma and neuroendocrine tumor cells, we identified the secretogranin III (SCG3) promoter and constructed an adenovirus Ad5PTD(ASH1-SCG3-E1A) wherein E1A gene expression is controlled by the SCG3 promoter and the achaete-scute complex homolog 1 (ASH1) enhancer. This virus shows selective and efficient killing of neuroblastoma cell lines in vitro, and delays human neuroblastoma xenograft tumor growth on nude mice. To further enhance the viral oncolytic efficacy, we also switched the fiber 5 to fiber 35 to generate Ad5PTDf35. This vector shows dramatically increased transduction capacity of primary human cell cultures including hematopoietic cells and their derivatives, pancreatic islets and exocrine cells, mesenchymal stem cells and primary tumor cells including primary cancer initiating cells. Ad5PTDf35-based adenovirus could be a useful platform for gene delivery and oncolytic virus development. Viral oncolysis alone cannot completely eradicate tumors. Therefore, we further armed the Ad5PTDf35-D24 virus with a secreted form of Helicobacter pylori Neutrophil Activating Protein (HP-NAP). Expression of HP-NAP recruits neutrophils to the site of infection, activates an innate immune response against tumor cells and provokes a Th1-type adaptive immune response. Established tumor on nude mice could be completely eradicated in some cases after treatment with this virus and the survival of mice was significantly prolonged.
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