Article

Expression of multiple human endogenous retrovirus surface envelope proteins in ovarian cancer

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States
International Journal of Cancer (Impact Factor: 5.01). 01/2007; 120(1):81-90. DOI: 10.1002/ijc.22256
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Individual classes of human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) genes and proteins are expressed in cancer, but expression of more than one type of HERV is rare. We report here the expression of multiple HERV genes and proteins in ovarian cell lines and tissues. Expression of HERV-K env mRNA was greater in ovarian epithelial tumors than in normal ovarian tissues (N = 254). The expression of this protein on the surface and in the cytoplasm of ovarian cancer cells was confirmed using anti-HERV-K specific antibody by flow cytometric analysis. The frequency of expression of HERV-K env protein in multitissue microarrays (N = 641) was determined by immunohistochemistry and a significant correlation with tumor histotype was found. A significantly increased expression of HERV-K was observed in tumors with low malignant potential and low grade, relative to expression in normal ovarian tissues. The increase in expression of HERV-K env protein took place in a stepwise fashion in serous papillary adenocarcinoma. Interestingly, we found that other classes of HERV env mRNAs, including ERV3 and HERV-E, are expressed in the same ovarian cancer tissues that expressed HERV-K. Furthermore, anti-HERV antibodies including anti-ERV3 (30%), anti-HERV-E (40%) and anti-HERV-K (55%) were detected in patients with ovarian cancer, but not in normal female controls. HERV env proteins are frequently transcribed and translated in ovarian epithelial tumors, and multiple HERV families are detectable in ovarian cancer. HERV env proteins, and especially those expressed on the cell surface, may serve as novel tumor targets for detection, diagnosis and immunotherapy of ovarian cancer.

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    • "Despite this, HERV-K is not infectious and its gene expression is generally repressed. However, reactivation of HERV-K proviruses coding for all viral proteins occurs under certain circumstances and is well established for human teratocarcinomas [1], melanomas [2] and ovarian cancer [3,4]. The overexpression of Gag has been seen in the peripheral blood cells of leukemia patients [5] and also in prostate cancer and ovarian cancer but not in healthy donors [6,7]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are remnants of ancestral infections and chromosomally integrated in all cells of an individual, are transmitted only vertically and are defective in viral replication. However enhanced expression of HERV-K accompanied by the emergence of anti-HERV-K-directed immune responses has been observed inter-alia in HIV-infected individuals and tumor patients. Therefore HERV-K might serve as a tumor-specific antigen or even as a constant target for the development of an HIV vaccine. To verify our hypothesis, we tested the immunogenicity of HERV-K Gag by using a recombinant vaccinia virus (MVA-HKcon) expressing the HERV-K Gag protein and established an animal model to test its vaccination efficacy. Murine renal carcinoma cells (Renca) were genetically altered to express E. coli beta-galactosidase (RLZ cells) and the HERV-K Gag protein (RLZ-HKGag cells). Subcutaneous application of RLZ-HKGag cells into syngenic BALB/c mice resulted in the formation of local tumors in MVA vaccinated mice. MVA-HKcon vaccination reduced the tumor growth. Furthermore, intravenous injection of RLZ-HKGag cells led to the formation of pulmonary metastases. Vaccination of tumor-bearing mice with MVA-HKcon drastically reduced the number of pulmonary RLZ-HKGag tumor nodules compared to vaccination with wild-type MVA. The data demonstrate that HERV-K Gag is a useful target for vaccine development and might offer new treatment opportunities for cancer patients. .
    Virology Journal 03/2014; 11(1):58. DOI:10.1186/1743-422X-11-58 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    • "The vast majority of HERVs have accumulated mutations or deletions and thus do not contain uninterrupted ORFs to code full-length proteins, or have had their transcription silenced by promoter methylation. Nevertheless, a number of different HERVs have been shown to be transcriptionally active in human malignancies including but not limited to melanoma (4–6), breast cancer (7), prostate adenocarcinoma (8), ovarian cancer (9, 10), and most recently renal cell carcinoma (11, 12). "
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    ABSTRACT: Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), remnants of ancient germ-line infections with exogenous retroviruses, are estimated to comprise up to 8% of human genome. Most HERVs have accumulated mutations and deletions that prevent their expression as an infectious virus. Nevertheless, a growing number of HERV genes and proteins have been found to be expressed in different cancers, raising the possibility that HERV-derived antigens might represent excellent targets for tumor immunotherapy. Here, we review data showing HERV-encoded antigens are capable of eliciting humoral and T-cells specific antitumor immunity. We also describe a novel HERV-E that was recently found to be selectively expressed in over 80% of clear cell kidney cancer but not in normal tissues. Remarkably, the restricted expression of HERV-E in kidney tumors was found to occur as a consequence of inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor. Importantly, antigens derived from this provirus are immunogenic, stimulating cytotoxic T-cells that kill kidney cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Taken altogether, these data suggest efforts aimed at boosting human immunity against HERV-derived antigens could be used as a strategy to treat advanced tumors including kidney cancer.
    Frontiers in Oncology 09/2013; 3:243. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2013.00243
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    • "However, HERV-K expression occurs and has been described in conjunction with disease. Reactivation of HERV-K proviruses coding for all viral proteins is well established for human teratocarcinomas [5], melanomas [6], [7] and ovarian cancer [8], [9]. HERV-K ENV has been found to be overexpressed in breast cancer tissues [10], [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) genomes are chromosomally integrated in all cells of an individual. They are normally transcriptionally silenced and transmitted only vertically. Enhanced expression of HERV-K accompanied by the emergence of anti-HERV-K-directed immune responses has been observed in tumor patients and HIV-infected individuals. As HERV-K is usually not expressed and immunological tolerance development is unlikely, it is an appropriate target for the development of immunotherapies. We generated a recombinant vaccinia virus (MVA-HKenv) expressing the HERV-K envelope glycoprotein (ENV), based on the modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), and established an animal model to test its vaccination efficacy. Murine renal carcinoma cells (Renca) were genetically altered to express E. coli beta-galactosidase (RLZ cells) or the HERV-K ENV gene (RLZ-HKenv cells). Intravenous injection of RLZ-HKenv cells into syngenic BALB/c mice led to the formation of pulmonary metastases, which were detectable by X-gal staining. A single vaccination of tumor-bearing mice with MVA-HKenv drastically reduced the number of pulmonary RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules compared to vaccination with wild-type MVA. Prophylactic vaccination of mice with MVA-HKenv precluded the formation of RLZ-HKenv tumor nodules, whereas wild-type MVA-vaccinated animals succumbed to metastasis. Protection from tumor formation correlated with enhanced HERV-K ENV-specific killing activity of splenocytes. These data demonstrate for the first time that HERV-K ENV is a useful target for vaccine development and might offer new treatment opportunities for diverse types of cancer.
    PLoS ONE 08/2013; 8(8):e72756. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0072756 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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