Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

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Vogel J.-U.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Otte J.,Frankfurter Stiftung fur Krebskranke Kinder | Koch F.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Gumbel H.,Bundeswehr Hospital Ulm | And 2 more authors.
Medical Microbiology and Immunology | Year: 2013

Although several host factors have been identified to influence the course of HCMV infection, it still remains unclear why in AIDS patients without highly active antiretroviral therapy human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) retinitis is one of the most common opportunistic infections, whereas in other immunosuppressed individuals it has a low incidence. It was suggested that HCMV glycoprotein B strains may be suitable as marker for virulence and HCMV retinitis. Moreover, UL144 ORF, a member of the TNF-α receptor superfamily, may play a crucial role in innate defences and adaptive immune response of HCMV infection. Furthermore, sequence analyses of HCMV genes UL128, UL130, and UL131A as major determinants of virus entry and replication in epithelial and other cell types were performed. To evaluate the association of sequence variability of depicted viral genes with HCMV retinitis and in vitro growth properties in retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) and human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF), we compared 14 HCMV isolates obtained from vitreous fluid and urine of AIDS patients with clinically proven HCMV retinitis. Isolates were analyzed by PCR cycle sequencing and phylogenetic analysis. In addition, sequences of HCMV strains AF1, U8, U11, VR1814, and its cell culture adapted derivates were included. Sequence analysis of gB yielded three genetic subtypes (gB type 1 (5 isolates), gB type 2 (12 isolates), and gB type 3 (5 Isolates)), whereas sequence analysis of UL144 showed a greater diversity (7 isolates type 1A, 2 isolates type 1C, 7 isolates type 2, and 3 isolates type 3). In contrast, the UL128, UL130, and UL131A genes of all low-passage isolates were highly conserved and showed no preferential clustering. Moreover, in HFF and RPE cells, all of our HCMV isolates replicated efficiently independently of their genetic subtype. In conclusion, beside a possible link between the gB subtype 2 and HCMV retinitis, our study found no direct evidence for a connection between UL144/UL128/UL130/UL131A genotypes and the incidence of HCMV retinitis in AIDS patients. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Preu E.,University of Hamburg | Muik A.,Georg Speyer Haus | Muik A.,Innsbruck Medical University | Weber K.,University of Hamburg | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Molecular Medicine | Year: 2011

Suicide gene therapy is a promising concept in oncology. We have recently introduced a novel suicide gene, TK.007, which was shown to excel established herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk) variants when used for donor-lymphocyte modification in adoptive immunotherapy models. Here, the potential of TK.007 in killing cancer cells was studied. Initially, we transduced tumour cell lines derived from different neoplasias (glioblastoma, melanoma, lung cancer, colon cancer) with lentiviral LeGO vectors encoding TK.007 or the splice-corrected (sc)HSVtk together with an eGFP/Neo-marker. Based on direct in vitro comparison, we found that TK.007 facilitates more efficient tumour cell killing at significantly lower ganciclovir doses in all tumour cell lines tested. Also, using different readout systems, we found a significantly stronger bystander effect of TK.007 as compared to scHSVtk. Importantly, in vitro data were confirmed in vivo using a subcutaneous G62 glioblastoma model in NOD/SCID mice. In mice transplanted with scHSVtk-positive tumours, treatment with low (10 mg/kg) or standard (50 mg/kg) ganciclovir doses resulted only in short-term growth inhibition or transient tumour remission, respectively. In striking contrast, in the TK.007 group, all animals achieved continuous complete remission after both standard and low-dose ganciclovir. Finally, a substantial bystander effect for TK.007 was also confirmed with the G62 model in vivo, where significantly prolonged survival for mice bearing tumours containing only 10% or 50% TK.007-expressing cells was observed. In summary, our data indicate strongly improved anti-tumour activity of TK.007 as compared to conventional HSVtk. We therefore suppose that TK.007 is an excellent candidate for cancer suicide gene therapy. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.

Preuss E.,University of Hamburg | Treschow A.,Karolinska University Hospital | Newrzela S.,Frankfurter Stiftung fur Krebskranke Kinder | Newrzela S.,Karolinska University Hospital | And 8 more authors.
Human Gene Therapy | Year: 2010

Conditional elimination of infused gene-modified alloreactive T cells, using suicide gene activation, has been shown to be an efficient strategy to abrogate severe graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in the context of adoptive immunotherapy. To overcome shortcomings of the most widely used suicide gene, wild-type (splice-corrected) herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (scHSVtk), we generated two new variants: the codon-optimized coHSVtk and, by introducing an additional mutation (A168H), the novel TK.007. We transduced human hematopoietic cell lines and primary T cells with retroviral "sort-suicide vectors" encoding combinations of selection markers (tCD34 and OuaSelect) with one of three HSVtk variants. In vitro we observed higher expression levels and sustained long-term expression of TK.007, indicating lower nonspecific toxicity. Also, we noted significantly improved kinetics of ganciclovir (GCV)-mediated killing for TK.007-transduced cells. In an experimental (murine) allogeneic transplantation model, TK.007-transduced T cells mediated severe GvHD, which was readily abrogated by application of GCV (10 mg/kg). Last, we established a modified allotransplantation model that allowed quantitative comparison of the in vivo activities of TK.007 versus scHSVtk. We found that TK.007 mediates both significantly faster and higher absolute killing at low GCV concentrations (10 and 25 mg/kg). In summary, we demonstrate that the novel TK.007 suicide gene combines better killing performance with reduced nonspecific toxicity (as compared with the frequently used splice-corrected wild-type scHSVtk gene), thus representing a promising alternative for suicide gene therapy. © 2010, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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