We are developing oncolytic vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSVs) for systemic treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable malignancy of antibody-secreting plasma cells that are specifically localized in the bone marrow. One of the presumed advantages for using VSV as an oncolytic virus is that human infections are rare and preexisting anti-VSV immunity is typically lacking in cancer patients, which is very important for clinical success. However, our studies show that nonimmune human and mouse serum can neutralize clinical-grade VSV, reducing the titer by up to 4 log units in 60 min. In addition, we show that neutralizing anti-VSV antibodies negate the antitumor efficacy of VSV, a concern for repeat VSV administration. We have investigated the potential use of covalent modification of VSV with polyethylene glycol (PEG) or a function-spacer-lipid (FSL)–PEG construct to inhibit serum neutralization and to limit hepatosplenic sequestration of systemically delivered VSV. We report that in mice passively immunized with neutralizing anti-VSV antibodies, PEGylation of VSV improved the persistence of VSV in the blood circulation, maintaining a more than 1-log-unit increase in VSV genome copies for up to 1 h compared to the genome copy numbers for the non-PEGylated virus, which was mostly cleared within 10 min after intravenous injection. We are currently investigating if this increase in PEGylated VSV circulating half-life can translate to increased virus delivery and better efficacy in mouse models of multiple myeloma.
Current treatment options for epithelial ovarian cancer are limited and therapeutic development for recurrent and drug-resistant ovarian cancer is an urgent agenda. We investigated the potential use of genetically engineered Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) to treat ovarian cancer patients who fail to respond to available therapies. Specifically, we examined the toxicity to hosts and specificity of targeting ovarian tumors using a Wv ovarian tumor model.
We first tested recombinant VSV for oncolytic activity in a panel of human ovarian epithelial cancer, immortalized, and primary ovarian surface epithelial cells in culture. Then, we test VSV oncolytic therapy using the immune competent Wv mice that develop tubular adenomas, benign tumor lesions derived from ovarian surface epithelial cells.
The expression of GFP encoded by the recombinant VSV genome was detected in about 5% of primary ovarian surface epithelial cells (3 lines) up to 30 days without significantly altering the growth pattern of the cells, suggesting the lack of toxicity to the normal ovarian surface epithelial cells. However, VSV-GFP was detected in the majority (around 90%) of cells that are either “immortalized” by SV40 antigen expression or cancer lines. Some variation in killing time courses was observed, but all the transformed cell lines were killed within 3 days.
We found that regardless of the inoculation route (intra bursal, IP, or IV), VSV specifically infected and replicated in the in situ ovarian tumors in the Wv mice without significant activity in any other organs and tissues, and showed no detectable toxicity. The epithelial tumor lesions were greatly reduced in VSV-targeted ovarian tumors in the Wv mice.
VSV oncolytic activity depends on a cell autonomous property distinguishing primary and transformed cells. The efficient oncolytic activity of VSV for the “immortalized” non-tumorigenic ovarian surface epithelial cells suggests that the selective specificity extends from pre-neoplastic to overt cancer cells. The results demonstrated the explicit targeting of ovarian epithelial tumors by VSV in immune com petent, ovarian tumor-bearing mouse models, and further support the utility of VSV as an effective and safe anti-cancer agent.
We report here the identification, following expression cloning, of a molecule, STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) that regulates innate immune signaling processes. STING, comprising 5 putative transmembrane (TM) regions, predominantly resides in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and is able to activate both NF-κB and IRF3 transcription pathways to induce type I IFN and exert a potent anti-viral state following expression. In contrast, loss of STING rendered murine embryonic fibroblasts (STING −/−MEFs) extremely susceptible to negative-stranded virus infection, including vesicular stomatitis virus, VSV. Further, STING ablation abrogated the ability of intracellular B-form DNA, as well as members of the herpes virus family, to induce IFNβ, but did not significantly affect the Toll-like receptor (TLR pathway). Yeast-two hybrid and co-immunprecipitation studies indicated that STING interacts with RIG-I and with Ssr2/TRAPβ, a member of the translocon-associated protein (TRAP) complex required for protein translocation across the ER membrane following translation[1, 2]. RNAi ablation of TRAPβ and translocon adaptor Sec61β was subsequently found to inhibit STING’s ability to stimulate IFNβ. Thus, aside from identifying a novel regulator of innate immune signaling, this data implicates for the first time a potential role for the translocon in innate signaling pathways activated by select viruses as well as intracellular DNA.
Oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has potent antitumor activity, but infects a broad range of cell types. Here, we used the measles virus (MV) hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) envelope glycoproteins to redirect VSV entry and infection specifically to tumor-associated receptors. Replication-defective VSV, deleted of its glycoprotein gene (VSVΔG), was pseudotyped with MV-F and MV-H displaying single-chain antibodies (scFv) specific for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), folate receptor (FR), or prostate membrane-specific antigen (PSMA). Viral titers were ∼105 PFU/ml, but could be concentrated to 107 PFU/ml. Immunoblotting confirmed incorporation of the MV-H-scFv and MV-F into functional VSV virions. Although VSV-G was able to infect all tumor cell lines tested, the retargeted VSV infected only cells that expressed the targeted receptor. In vivo specificities of the EGFR-, FR-, and PSMA-retargeted VSV were assessed by intratumoral injection into human tumor xenografts. Analysis of green fluorescent protein reporter gene expression indicated that VSV infection was restricted to receptor-positive tumors. In summary, we have demonstrated for the first time that VSV can be efficiently retargeted to different cellular receptors using the measles display technology, yielding retargeted VSV vectors that are highly specific for tumors that express the relevant receptor.
Ayala-Breton and colleagues use the measles virus (MV) hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) envelope glycoproteins to redirect vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) entry and infection specifically to tumor-associated receptors such as epidermal growth factor receptor, folate receptor, and prostate membrane-specific antigen. In vivo expression of the all retargeted VSV was restricted to receptor-positive human tumor xenografts.
Current therapy for multiple myeloma is complex and prolonged. Antimyeloma drugs are combined in induction, consolidation and/or maintenance protocols to destroy bulky disease, then suppress or eradicate residual disease. Oncolytic viruses have the potential to mediate both tumor debulking and residual disease elimination, but this curative paradigm remains unproven. Here we engineered an oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus to minimize its neurotoxicity, enhance induction of antimyeloma immunity, and facilitate noninvasive monitoring of its intratumoral spread. Using high resolution imaging, autoradiography and immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate that the intravenously administered virus extravasates from tumor blood vessels in immunocompetent myeloma-bearing mice, nucleating multiple intratumoral infectious centers which expand rapidly and necrose at their centers, ultimately coalescing to cause extensive tumor destruction. This oncolytic tumor debulking phase lasts only for 72 hours after virus administration, and is completed before antiviral antibodies become detectable in the bloodstream. Anti-myeloma T cells, cross-primed as the virus-infected cells provoke an antiviral immune response, then eliminate residual uninfected myeloma cells. The study establishes a curative oncolytic paradigm for multiple myeloma where direct tumor debulking and immune eradication of minimal disease are mediated by a single intravenous dose of a single therapeutic agent. Clinical translation is underway.
Oncolytic Virotherapy; multiple myeloma; Vesicular Stomatitis Virus; Intravenous; Immunotherapy
The type I interferon (IFN) response initiated by detection of nucleic acids is important for antiviral defense, but is also associated with specific autoimmune diseases. Mutations in the human 3′ repair exonuclease 1 (Trex1) gene cause Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), an IFN-associated autoimmune disease. However, the source of the type I IFN response and the precise mechanisms of disease in AGS remain unknown. Here, we demonstrate that Trex1 is an essential negative regulator of the STING-dependent antiviral response. We used an in vivo reporter of IFN activity in Trex1-deficient mice to localize the initiation of disease to non-hematopoietic cells. These IFNs drove T cell-mediated inflammation and an autoantibody response that targeted abundant, tissue-restricted autoantigens. However, B cells contributed to mortality independently of T cell-mediated tissue damage. These findings reveal a stepwise progression of autoimmune disease in Trex1-deficient mice, with implications for the treatment of AGS and related disorders.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is an incurable malignancy of plasma secreting B-cells disseminated in the bone marrow. Successful utilization of oncolytic virotherapy for myeloma treatment requires a systemically administered virus that selectively destroys disseminated myeloma cells in an immune-competent host. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing Interferon-β (IFNβ) is a promising new oncolytic agent that exploits tumor-associated defects in innate immune signaling pathways to specifically destroy cancer cells. We demonstrate here that a single, intravenous dose of VSV-IFNβ specifically destroys subcutaneous and disseminated 5TGM1 myeloma in an immune competent myeloma model. VSV-IFN treatment significantly prolonged survival in mice bearing orthotopic myeloma. Viral murine IFNβ expression further delayed myeloma progression and significantly enhanced survival compared to VSV expressing human IFNβ. Evaluation of VSV-IFNβ oncolytic activity in human myeloma cell lines and primary patient samples confirmed myeloma specific oncolytic activity but revealed variable susceptibility to VSV-IFNβ oncolysis. The results indicate that VSV-IFNβ is a potent, safe oncolytic agent that can be systemically administered to effectively target and destroy disseminated myeloma in immune competent mice. IFNβ expression improves cancer specificity and enhances VSV therapeutic efficacy against disseminated myeloma. These data show VSV-IFNβ to be a promising vector for further development as a potential therapy for treatment of Multiple myeloma.
Oncolytic; virotherapy; myeloma; Vesicular stomatitis virus; systemic
Although Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) has been implicated in regulating cytokine and type I interferon (IFN) production during malaria in humans and mice, the high AT content of the Plasmodium falciparum genome prompted us to examine the possibility that malarial DNA triggered TLR9-independent DNA sensing pathways. Over 6000 ATTTTTAC (“AT-rich”) motifs are present in the genome of P. falciparum, which we show here potently induce type I IFNs. Parasite DNA, parasitized erythrocytes and oligonucleotides containing the AT-r motif induce type I IFNs via a pathway that did not involve previously described sensors including TLR9, DAI, RNA polymerase-III or IFI16/p204. Rather, AT-rich DNA sensing involved an unknown receptor that coupled to STING, TBK1 and IRF3-IRF7 signaling pathway. Mice lacking both IRF3 and IRF7, the kinase TBK1 or the type I IFN receptor were resistant to otherwise lethal cerebral malaria. Collectively, these observations implicate AT-rich DNA sensing via STING, TBK1 and IRF3-IRF7 in P. falciparum malaria.
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a negative-strand RNA rhabdovirus, preferentially replicates in and eradicates transformed versus nontransformed cells and is thus being considered for use as a potential anticancer treatment. The genetic malleability of VSV also affords an opportunity to develop more potent agents that exhibit increased therapeutic activity. The tumor suppressor p53 has been shown to exert potent antitumor properties, which may in part involve stimulating host innate immune responses to malignancies. To evaluate whether VSV expressing p53 exhibited enhanced oncolytic action, the murine p53 (mp53) gene was incorporated into recombinant VSVs with or without a functional viral M gene-encoded protein that could either block (VSV-mp53) or enable [VSV-M(mut)-mp53] host mRNA export following infection of susceptible cells. Our results indicated that VSV-mp53 and VSV-M(mut)-mp53 expressed high levels of functional p53 and retained the ability to lyse transformed versus normal cells. In addition, we observed that VSV-ΔM-mp53 was extremely attenuated in vivo due to p53 activating innate immune genes, such as type I interferon (IFN). Significantly, immunocompetent animals with metastatic mammary adenocarcinoma exhibited increased survival following treatment with a single inoculation of VSV-ΔM-mp53, the mechanisms of which involved enhanced CD49b+ NK and tumor-specific CD8+ T cell responses. Our data indicate that VSV incorporating p53 could provide a safe, effective strategy for the design of VSV oncolytic therapeutics and VSV-based vaccines.
Eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B (eIF2B) is a heteropentameric guanine nucleotide exchange factor that converts protein synthesis initiation factor 2 (eIF2) from a GDP-bound form to the active eIF2-GTP complex. Cellular stress can repress translation initiation by activating kinases capable of phosphorylating the alpha subunit of eIF2 (eIF2α), which sequesters eIF2B to prevent exchange activity. Previously, we demonstrated that tumor cells are sensitive to viral replication, possibly due to the occurrence of defects in eIF2B that overcome the inhibitory effects of eIF2α phosphorylation. To extend this analysis, we have investigated the importance of eIF2Bα function and report that this subunit can functionally substitute for its counterpart, GCN3, in yeast. In addition, a variant of mammalian eIF2Bα harboring a point mutation (T41A) was able overcome translational inhibition invoked by amino acid depravation, which activates Saccharomyces cerevisiae GCN2 to phosphorylate the yeast eIF2α homolog SUI2. Significantly, we also demonstrate that the loss of eIF2Bα, or the expression of the T41A variant in mammalian cells, is sufficient to neutralize the consequences of eIF2α phosphorylation and render normal cells susceptible to virus infection. Our data emphasize the importance of eIF2Bα in mediating the eIF2 kinase translation-inhibitory activity and may provide insight into the complex nature of viral oncolysis.
miR-155, processed from the B-cell integration cluster (BIC), is one of the few well-studied microRNAs (miRNAs) and is involved in both innate immunity and tumorigenesis. BIC/miR-155 is induced by distinct signaling pathways, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms. We have identified two conserved potential interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF)-binding/interferon-stimulated response element motifs in the Bic gene promoter. Two oncogenic IRFs, IRF4 and -7, in addition to some other members of the family, bind to and significantly transactivate the Bic promoter. Correspondingly, the endogenous levels of IRF4 and -7 are correlated with that of the BIC transcript in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed cells. However, RNA interference studies have shown that depletion of IRF4, rather than of IRF7, dramatically decreases the endogenous level of BIC by up to 70% in EBV- or human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV1)-transformed cell lines and results in apoptosis and reduction of proliferation rates that are restored by transient expression of miR-155. Moreover, the endogenous levels of the miR-155 target, SHIP1, are consistently elevated in EBV- and HTLV1-transformed cell lines stably expressing shIRF4. In contrast, transient expression of IRF4 decreases the SHIP1 level in EBV-negative B cells. Furthermore, the level of IRF4 mRNA is significantly correlated with that of BIC in adult T-cell lymphoma/leukemia (ATLL) tumors. These results show that IRF4 plays an important role in the regulation of BIC in the context of EBV and HTLV1 infection. Our findings have identified Bic as the first miRNA-encoding gene for IRFs and provide evidence for a novel molecular mechanism underlying the IRF/BIC pathway in viral oncogenesis.
The innate immune system responds within minutes of infection to produce type I interferons and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Interferons induce the synthesis of cell proteins with antiviral activity, and also shape the adaptive immune response by priming T cells. Despite the discovery of interferons over 50 years ago, only recently have we begun to understand how cells sense the presence of a virus infection. Two families of pattern recognition receptors have been shown to distinguish unique molecules present in pathogens, such as bacterial and fungal cell wall components, viral RNA and DNA, and lipoproteins. The first family includes the membrane-bound toll-like receptors (TLRs). Studies of the signaling pathways that lead from pattern recognition to cytokine induction have revealed extensive and overlapping cascades that involve protein-protein interactions and phosphorylation, and culminate in activation of transcription proteins that control the transcription of genes encoding interferons and other cytokines. A second family of pattern recognition receptors has recently been identified, which comprises the cytoplasmic sensors of viral nucleic acids, including MDA-5, RIG-I, and LGP2. In this review we summarize the discovery of these cytoplasmic sensors, how they recognize nucleic acids, the signaling pathways leading to cytokine synthesis, and viral countermeasures that have evolved to antagonize the functions of these proteins. We also consider the function of these cytoplasmic sensors in apoptosis, development and differentiation, and diabetes.
Antiviral innate immunity; MDA-5; RIG-I; domain grafting; cell signaling; apoptosis; viral pathogenesis
Innate immune signaling is crucial for detection of and the initial response to microbial pathogens. Evidence is provided indicating that LGP2, a DEXH box domain protein related to the RNA recognition receptors RIG-I and MDA5, participates in the cellular response to cytosolic double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). Analysis of embryonic fibroblasts and macrophages from mice harboring targeted disruption in the LGP2 gene reveals that LGP2 can act as a positive regulator of type I IFN and anti-microbial gene expression in response to transfected dsDNA. Results indicate that infection of LGP2-deficient mice with an intracellular bacterial pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, leads to reduced levels of type I IFN and IL12, and allows increased bacterial growth in infected animals, resulting in greater colonization of both spleen and liver. Responses to infection with vaccinia virus, a dsDNA virus, are also suppressed in cells lacking LGP2, reinforcing the ability of LGP2 to act as a positive regulator of antiviral signaling. In vitro mechanistic studies indicate that purified LGP2 protein does not bind DNA but instead mediates these responses indirectly. Data suggest that LGP2 may be acting downstream of the intracellular RNA polymerase III pathway to activate anti-microbial signaling. Together, these findings demonstrate a regulatory role for LGP2 in the response to cytosolic DNA, an intracellular bacterial pathogen, and a DNA virus, and provide a plausible mechanistic hypothesis as the basis for this activity.
Oncolytic virotherapy can be achieved in two ways: (1) by exploiting an innate ability of certain viruses to selectively replicate in tumor tissues, and (2) by using viruses to deliver toxic or immunostimulatory genes to tumors. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) selectively replicates in tumors lacking adequate type I interferon response. The efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy using VSV against B16 melanomas in C57BL/6 mice is dependent on CD8+ T and natural killer cells. Because immunotherapies that prime specific CD8+ T cells against melanocyte/melanoma antigens can generate significant therapeutic responses, we hypothesized that engineering VSV to express the potent T cell costimulatory molecule CD40 ligand (VSV-CD40L) would enhance virotherapy with concomitant priming of melanoma-specific T cells. However, we observed no difference in antitumor efficacy between the parental VSV-GFP and VSV-CD40L. In contrast, intratumoral injection of a replication-defective adenovirus expressing CD40L (Ad-CD40L) consistently produced significantly greater therapy than either replication-competent VSV-GFP or VSV-CD40L. The Ad-CD40L-mediated tumor regressions were associated with specific T cell responses against tumor-associated antigens (TAAs), which took several days to develop, whereas VSV-CD40L rapidly induced high levels of T cell activation without specificity for TAAs. These data suggest that the high levels of VSV-associated immunogenicity distracted immune responses away from priming of tumor-specific T cells, even in the presence of potent costimulatory signals. In contrast, a replication-defective Ad-CD40L allowed significant priming of T cells directed against TAAs. These observations suggest that an efficiently primed antitumor T cell response can produce similar, if not better, therapy against an established melanoma compared with intratumoral injection of a replication-competent oncolytic virus.
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has shown promise as an oncolytic agent, although unmodified VSV can be neurotoxic. To avoid toxicity, a vector was created by introducing the interferon-β (IFN-β) gene (VSV.IFN-β). We conducted this study to determine the ability of VSV.IFN-β to lyse human cancer (mesothelioma) cells and to evaluate the potential of this recombinant virus for clinical translation. Four normal human mesothelial and 12 mesothelioma cell lines were tested for their susceptibility to VSV vectors in vitro. VSV.hIFN-β did not cause cytotoxicity in any normal lines. Only 4 of 12 lines were effectively lysed by VSV.hIFN-β. In the eight resistant lines, pretreatment with IFN-β prevented lysis of cells by VSV.GFP, and VSV infection or addition of IFN-β protein resulted in the upregulation of double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR), myxovirus resistance A (MxA), and 2′,5′-oligo-adenylate-synthetase (2′5′-OAS) mRNA. In the susceptible lines, there was no protection by pretreatment with IFN-β protein and no IFN- or VSV-induced changes in PKR, MxA, and 2′5′-OAS mRNA. This complete lack of IFN responsiveness could be explained by marked downregulation of interferon alpha receptors (IFNARs), p48, and PKR in both the mesothelioma cell lines and primary tumor biopsies screened. Presence of p48 in three tumor samples predicted responsiveness to IFN. Our data indicate that many mesothelioma tumors have partially intact IFN pathways that may affect the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy. However, it may be feasible to prescreen individual susceptibility to VSV.IFN-β by immunostaining for the presence of p48 protein.
The innate immune system has evolved a variety of sensing mechanisms to detect and counter microbial invasion. These include the Toll-like receptor (TLR), cytoplasmic, nucleotide binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor and RIG-I-like helicase (RLH) pathways. However, how the cell detects pathogen-associated DNA to trigger host defense, including the production of interferon, remains to be fully clarified. Understanding these processes could have profound implications into how we understand and treat a variety of microbial-related disease, including viral-associated cancers, as well as autoimmune disorders. Recently, an endoplasmic reticulum-associated molecule referred to as STING (for stimulator of interferon genes) was isolated and shown to be critical for regulating the production of IFN in response to cytoplasmic DNA. Here, we review recent discoveries relating to the detection of foreign DNA, including the importance of the STING and inflammasome pathways and the triggering of innate signaling processes.
Interferon; STING; Cytoplasmic DNA; Autoimmunity
This study provides the clinical pathological characteristics of 1301 cases of pediatric/adolescent lymphomas in patients from different geographic regions of Brazil.
A retrospective analyses of diagnosed pediatric lymphoma cases in a 10‐year period was performed. We believe that it represents the largest series of pediatric lymphomas presented from Brazil.
Non‐Hodgkin lymphomas represented 68% of the cases, including those of precursor (36%) and mature (64%) cell origin. Mature cell lymphomas comprised 81% of the B‐cell phenotype and 19% of the T‐cell phenotype. Hodgkin lymphomas represented 32% of all cases, including 87% of the classical type and 13% of nodular lymphocyte predominant type. The geographic distribution showed 38.4% of the cases in the Southeast region, 28.7% in the Northeast, 16.1% in the South, 8.8% in the North, and 8% in the Central‐west region. The distribution by age groups was 15–18 years old, 33%; 11–14 years old, 26%; 6–10 years old, 24%; and 6 years old or younger, 17%. Among mature B‐cell lymphomas, most of the cases were Burkitt lymphomas (65%), followed by diffuse large B‐cell lymphomas (24%). In the mature T‐cell group, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, ALK‐positive was the most prevalent (57%), followed by peripheral T‐cell lymphoma, then not otherwise specified (25%). In the group of classic Hodgkin lymphomas, the main histological subtype was nodular sclerosis (76%). Nodular lymphocyte predominance occurred more frequently than in other series.
Some of the results found in this study may reflect the heterogeneous socioeconomical status and environmental factors of the Brazilian population in different regions.
Lymphomas; Pediatric; Childhood; Adolescent; Brazil; Hodgkin Lymphoma; Epidemiology; Geographic Region
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has long been regarded as a promising recombinant vaccine platform and oncolytic agent but has not yet been tested in humans because it causes encephalomyelitis in rodents and primates. Recent studies have shown that specific tropisms of several viruses could be eliminated by engineering microRNA target sequences into their genomes, thereby inhibiting spread in tissues expressing cognate microRNAs. We therefore sought to determine whether microRNA targets could be engineered into VSV to ameliorate its neuropathogenicity. Using a panel of recombinant VSVs incorporating microRNA target sequences corresponding to neuron-specific or control microRNAs (in forward and reverse orientations), we tested viral replication kinetics in cell lines treated with microRNA mimics, neurotoxicity after direct intracerebral inoculation in mice, and antitumor efficacy. Compared to picornaviruses and adenoviruses, the engineered VSVs were relatively resistant to microRNA-mediated inhibition, but neurotoxicity could nevertheless be ameliorated significantly using this approach, without compromise to antitumor efficacy. Neurotoxicity was most profoundly reduced in a virus carrying four tandem copies of a neuronal mir125 target sequence inserted in the 3′-untranslated region of the viral polymerase (L) gene.
There are several roadblocks that hinder systemic delivery of oncolytic viruses to the sites of metastatic disease. These include the tumor vasculature, which provides a physical barrier to tumor-specific virus extravasation. Although interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been used in antitumor therapy, it is associated with endothelial cell injury, leading to vascular leak syndrome (VLS). Here, we demonstrate that IL-2-mediated VLS, accentuated by depletion of regulatory T cells (Treg), facilitates localization of intravenously (IV) delivered oncolytic virus into established tumors in immune-competent mice. IL-2, in association with Treg depletion, generates “hyperactivated” natural killer (NK) cells, possessing antitumor activity and secreting factors that facilitate virus spread/replication throughout the tumor by disrupting the tumor architecture. As a result, the combination of Treg depletion/IL-2 and systemic oncolytic virotherapy was found to be significantly more therapeutic against established disease than either treatment alone. These data demonstrate that it is possible to combine biological therapy with oncolytic virotherapy to generate systemic therapy against established tumors.
To protect viral particles from neutralization, sequestration, nonspecific adhesion, and mislocalization following systemic delivery, we have previously exploited the natural tumor-homing properties of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. Thus, OT-I T cells, preloaded in vitro with the oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), can deliver virus to established B16ova tumors to generate significantly better therapy than that achievable with OT-I T cells, or systemically delivered VSV, alone. Here, we demonstrate that preconditioning immune-competent mice with Treg depletion and interleukin-2 (IL-2), before adoptive T-cell therapy with OT-I T cells loaded with VSV, leads to further highly significant increases in antitumor therapy. Therapy was associated with antitumor immune memory, but with no detectable toxicities associated with IL-2, Treg depletion, or systemic dissemination of the oncolytic virus. Efficacy was contributed by multiple factors, including improved persistence of T cells; enhanced delivery of VSV to tumors; increased persistence of OT-I cells in vivo resulting from tumor oncolysis; and activation of NK cells, which acquire potent antitumor and proviral activities. By controlling the levels of virus loaded onto the OT-I cells, adoptive therapy was still effective in mice preimmune to the virus, indicating that therapy with virus-loaded T cells may be useful even in virus-immune patients. Taken together, our data show that it is possible to combine adoptive T-cell therapy, with biological therapy (Treg depletion+IL-2), and VSV virotherapy, to treat established tumors under conditions where none of the individual modalities alone is successful.
We previously hypothesized that efficient translation of influenza virus mRNA requires the recruitment of P58IPK, the cellular inhibitor of PKR, an interferon-induced kinase that targets the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF2α. P58IPK also inhibits PERK, an eIF2α kinase that is localized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and induced during ER stress. The ability of P58IPK to interact with and inhibit multiple eIF2α kinases suggests it is a critical regulator of both cellular and viral mRNA translation. In this study, we sought to definitively define the role of P58IPK during viral infection of mammalian cells. Using mouse embryo fibroblasts from P58IPK−/− mice, we demonstrated that the absence of P58IPK led to an increase in eIF2α phosphorylation and decreased influenza virus mRNA translation. The absence of P58IPK also resulted in decreased vesicular stomatitis virus replication but enhanced reovirus yields. In cells lacking the P58IPK target, PKR, the trends were reversed—eIF2α phosphorylation was decreased, and influenza virus mRNA translation was increased. Although P58IPK also inhibits PERK, the presence or absence of this kinase had little effect on influenza virus mRNA translation, despite reduced levels of eIF2α phosphorylation in cells lacking PERK. Finally, we showed that influenza virus protein synthesis and viral mRNA levels decrease in cells that express a constitutively active, nonphosphorylatable eIF2α. Taken together, our results support a model in which P58IPK regulates influenza virus mRNA translation and infection through a PKR-mediated mechanism which is independent of PERK.
TANK-binding kinase-1 (TBK1) is an integral component of Type I interferon induction by microbial infection. The importance of TBK1 and Type I interferon in antiviral immunity is well established, but the function of TBK1 in bacterial infection is unclear. Upon infection of murine embryonic fibroblasts with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (Salmonella), more extensive bacterial proliferation was observed in tbk1−/− than tbk1+/+ cells. TBK1 kinase activity was required for restriction of bacterial infection, but interferon regulatory factor-3 or Type I interferon did not contribute to this TBK1-dependent function. In tbk1−/−cells, Salmonella, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, and Streptococcus pyogenes escaped from vacuoles into the cytosol where increased replication occurred, which suggests that TBK1 regulates the integrity of pathogen-containing vacuoles. Knockdown of tbk1 in macrophages and epithelial cells also resulted in increased bacterial localization in the cytosol, indicating that the role of TBK1 in maintaining vacuolar integrity is relevant in different cell types. Taken together, these data demonstrate a requirement for TBK1 in control of bacterial infection distinct from its established role in antiviral immunity.
Early control of invading microbial pathogens is an essential function of the host response to infection. Previous studies have shown that upon viral infection, a protein called TANK-binding kinase-1(TBK1) signals the induction of a program of protection that results in inhibition of viral replication. During infection of mammalian cells by bacteria, a different type of microbe than a virus, TBK1 also sends signals, but the functional contribution of TBK1 to controlling bacterial infection was unknown. Here, we show that TBK1 does protect host cells from bacterial infection; however, the TBK1-dependent mechanisms that inhibit viral infection were not effective against bacterial growth. Instead, TBK1 maintained the integrity of the vacuolar compartment, consisting of small membrane-bound vesicles, where the invading bacteria were trapped. In the absence of TBK1, pathogens such as Salmonella, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, and Group A Streptococcus were able to escape from the confining host vacuoles and grow to high levels within the host cytosol. Thus, TBK1 plays an important role in the cellular response to bacterial infection, distinct from its function in antiviral immunity.
We have generated replication-competent (VSV-C/E1/E2) and nonpropagating (VSVΔG-C/E1/E2) vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) contiguously expressing the structural proteins of hepatitis C virus (HCV; core [C] and glycoproteins E1 and E2) and report on their immunogenicity in murine models. VSV-C/E1/E2 and VSVΔG-C/E1/E2 expressed high levels of HCV C, E1, and E2, which were authentically posttranslationally processed. Both VSV-expressed HCV E1-E2 glycoproteins were found to form noncovalently linked heterodimers and appeared to be correctly folded, as confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation analysis using conformationally sensitive anti-HCV-E2 monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Intravenous or intraperitoneal immunization of BALB/c mice with VSV-C/E1/E2 or VSVΔG-C/E1/E2 resulted in significant and surprisingly comparable HCV core or E2 antibody responses compared to those of control mice. In addition, both virus types generated HCV C-, E1-, or E2-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-producing CD8+ T cells, as determined by enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) analysis. Mice immunized with VSVΔG-C/E1/E2 were also protected against the formation of tumors expressing HCV E2 (CT26-hghE2t) and exhibited CT26-hghE2t-specific IFN-γ-producing and E2-specific CD8+ T-cell activity. Finally, recombinant vaccinia virus (vvHCV.S) expressing the HCV structural proteins replicated at significantly lower levels when inoculated into mice immunized with VSV-C/E1/E2 or VSVΔG-C/E1/E2, but not with control viruses. Our data therefore illustrate that potentially safer replication-defective VSV can be successfully engineered to express high levels of antigenically authentic HCV glycoproteins. In addition, this strategy may therefore serve in effective vaccine and immunotherapy-based approaches to the treatment of HCV-related disease.
Suppression of protein synthesis through phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor α subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) is known to occur in response to many forms of cellular stress. To further study this, we have developed novel cell lines that inducibly express FLAG-tagged versions of either the phosphomimetic eIF2α variant, eIF2α-S51D, or the phosphorylation-insensitive eIF2α-S51A. These variants showed authentic subcellular localization, were incorporated into endogenous ternary complexes, and were able to modulate overall rates of protein synthesis as well as influence cell division. However, phosphorylation of eIF2α failed to induce cell death or sensitize cells to killing by proapoptotic stimuli, though it was able to inhibit viral replication, confirming the role of eIF2α in host defense. Further, although the eIF2α-S51A variant has been shown to transform NIH 3T3 cells, it was unable to transform the murine fibroblast 3T3 L1 cell line. To therefore clarify this issue, we explored the role of eIF2α in growth control and demonstrated that the eIF2α-S51A variant is capable of collaborating with hTERT and the simian virus 40 large T antigen in the transformation of primary human kidney cells. Thus, dysregulation of translation initiation is indeed sufficient to cooperate with defined oncogenic elements and participate in the tumorigenesis of human tissue.