[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial- and yeast- encoded cytosine deaminases (bCD and yCD, respectively) are widely investigated suicide enzymes used in combination with the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5FC) to achieve localized cytotoxicity. Yet characteristics such as poor turnover rates of 5FC (bCD) and enzyme thermolability (yCD) preclude their full therapeutic potential. We previously applied regio-specific random mutagenesis and computational design to create novel bCD and yCD variants with altered substrate preference (bCD(1525)) or increased thermostability (yCD(double), yCD(triple)) to aid in overcoming these limitations. Others have utilized pathway engineering in which the microbial enzyme uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT) is fused with its respective CD, creating bCD/bUPRT or yCD/yUPRT. In this study, we evaluated whether the overlay of CD mutants onto their respective CD/UPRT fusion construct would further enhance 5FC activation, cancer cell prodrug sensitivity and bystander activity in vitro and in vivo. We show that all mutant fusion enzymes allowed for significant reductions in IC(50) values relative to their mutant CD counterparts. However, in vivo the CD mutants displayed enhanced tumor growth inhibition capacity relative to the mutant fusions, with bCD(1525) displaying the greatest tumor growth inhibition and bystander activity. In summary, mutant bCD(1525) appears to be the most effective of all bacterial or yeast CD or CD/UPRT enzymes examined and as such is likely to be the best choice to significantly improve the clinical outcome of CD/5FC suicide gene therapy applications.
Cancer gene therapy 03/2011; 18(8):533-42. · 3.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVTK) with ganciclovir (GCV) is currently the most widely used suicide gene/prodrug system in cancer gene therapy. A major limitation in this therapy is the inefficient activation of GCV by HSVTK to its active antimetabolites. We described earlier two strategies to overcome this limitation: (1) generation of HSVTK mutants with improved GCV activation potential and (2) construction of a fusion protein encoding HSVTK and mouse guanylate kinase (MGMK), the second enzyme in the GCV activation pathway. As a means to further enhance GCV activation, two MGMK/HSVTK constructs containing the HSVTK mutants, mutant 30 and SR39, were generated and evaluated for their tumor and bystander killing effects in vitro and in vivo. One fusion mutant, MGMK/30, shows significant reduction in IC(50) values of approximately 12 500-fold, 100-fold, and 125-fold compared with HSVTK, mutant 30 or MGMK/HSVTK, respectively. In vitro bystander analyses show that 5% of MGMK/30-expressing cells are sufficient to induce 75% of tumor cell killing. In an xenograft tumor model, MGMK/30 displays the greatest inhibition of tumor growth at a GCV concentration (1 mg kg(-1)) that has no effect on wild-type HSVTK-, MGMK/HSVTK-, or mutant 30-transfected cells. Another fusion construct, MGMK/SR39, sensitizes rat C6 glioma cells to GCV by 2500-fold or 25-fold compared with HSVTK or MGMK/HSVTK, respectively. In vitro analyses show similar IC(50) values between cells harboring SR39 and MGMK/SR39, although MGMK/SR39 seems to elicit stronger bystander killing effects in which 1% of MGMK/SR39-transfected cells result in 60% cell death. In a xenograft tumor model, despite observable tumor growth inhibition, no statistical significance in tumor volume was detected between mice harboring SR39- and MGMK/SR39-transfected cells when dosed with 1 mg kg(-1) GCV. However, at a lower dose of GCV (0.1 mg kg(-1)), MGMK/SR39 seems to have slightly greater tumor growth inhibition properties compared with SR39 (P< or =0.05). In vivo studies indicate that both mutant fusion proteins display substantial improvements in bystander killing in the presence of 1 mg kg(-1) GCV, even when only 5% of the tumor cells are transfected. Such fusion mutants with exceptional prodrug converting properties will allow administration of lower and non-myelosuppressive doses of GCV concomitant with improved tumor killing and as such are promising candidates for translational gene therapy studies.
Cancer gene therapy 09/2009; 17(2):86-96. · 3.13 Impact Factor