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Merkel C.A.,University of Sao Paulo | Merkel C.A.,Instituto Do Milenio Rede Of Terapia Genica | da Silva Soares R.B.,University of Sao Paulo | da Silva Soares R.B.,Instituto Do Milenio Rede Of Terapia Genica | And 12 more authors.
BMC Cancer | Year: 2010

Background: Reactivation of p53 by either gene transfer or pharmacologic approaches may compensate for loss of p19Arf or excess mdm2 expression, common events in melanoma and glioma. In our previous work, we constructed the pCLPG retroviral vector where transgene expression is controlled by p53 through a p53-responsive promoter. The use of this vector to introduce p19Arf into tumor cells that harbor p53wt should yield viral expression of p19Arf which, in turn, would activate the endogenous p53 and result in enhanced vector expression and tumor suppression. Since nutlin-3 can activate p53 by blocking its interaction with mdm2, we explored the possibility that the combination of p19Arf gene transfer and nutlin-3 drug treatment may provide an additive benefit in stimulating p53 function.Methods: B16 (mouse melanoma) and C6 (rat glioma) cell lines, which harbor p53wt, were transduced with pCLPGp19 and these were additionally treated with nutlin-3 or the DNA damaging agent, doxorubicin. Viral expression was confirmed by Western, Northern and immunofluorescence assays. p53 function was assessed by reporter gene activity provided by a p53-responsive construct. Alterations in proliferation and viability were measured by colony formation, growth curve, cell cycle and MTT assays. In an animal model, B16 cells were treated with the pCLPGp19 virus and/or drugs before subcutaneous injection in C57BL/6 mice, observation of tumor progression and histopathologic analyses.Results: Here we show that the functional activation of endogenous p53wt in B16 was particularly challenging, but accomplished when combined gene transfer and drug treatments were applied, resulting in increased transactivation by p53, marked cell cycle alteration and reduced viability in culture. In an animal model, B16 cells treated with both p19Arf and nutlin-3 yielded increased necrosis and decreased BrdU marking. In comparison, C6 cells were quite susceptible to either treatment, yet p53 was further activated by the combination of p19Arf and nutlin-3.Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to apply both p19Arf and nutlin-3 for the stimulation of p53 activity. These results support the notion that a p53 responsive vector may prove to be an interesting gene transfer tool, especially when combined with p53-activating agents, for the treatment of tumors that retain wild-type p53. © 2010 Merkel et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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