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Lam S.,Physiology and oExperimental Medicine Program | Lam S.,University of Toronto | Cao H.,Physiology and oExperimental Medicine Program | Wu J.,Physiology and oExperimental Medicine Program | And 3 more authors.
Genes and Diseases | Year: 2014

There have been significant advancements in the field of retinal gene therapy in the past several years. In particular, therapeutic efficacy has been achieved in three separate human clinical trials conducted to assess the ability of adeno-associated viruses (AAV) to treat of a type of Leber's congenital amaurosis caused by RPE65 mutations. However, despite the success of retinal gene therapy with AAV, challenges remain for delivering large therapeutic genes or genes requiring long DNA regulatory elements for controlling their expression. For example, Stargardt's disease, a form of juvenile macular degeneration, is caused by defects in ABCA4, a gene that is too large to be packaged in AAV. Therefore, we investigated the ability of helper dependent adenovirus (HD-Ad) to deliver genes to the retina as it has a much larger transgene capacity.Using an EGFP reporter, our results showed that HD-Ad can transduce the entire retinal epithelium of a mouse using a dose of only 1×105 infectious units and maintain transgene expression for at least 4 months. The results demonstrate that HD-Ad has the potential to be an effective vector for the gene therapy of the retina. © 2014 Chongqing Medical University. Source

Qa'aty N.,Physiology and oExperimental Medicine Program | Qa'aty N.,University of Toronto | Vincent M.,Physiology and oExperimental Medicine Program | Vincent M.,University of Toronto | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Dermatological Science | Year: 2015

Background: We have previously reported that a mixture of peptides obtained after chemical or enzymatic degradation of bovine elastin, induced new elastogenesis in human skin. Objective: Now, we investigated the elastogenic potential of synthetic peptides mimicking the elastin-derived, VGVAPG sequence, IGVAPG sequence that we found in the rice bran, and a similar peptide, VGVTAG that we identified in the IGF-1-binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1). Results: We now demonstrate that treatment with each of these xGVxxG peptides (recognizable by the anti-elastin antibody), up-regulated the levels of elastin-encoding mRNA, tropoelastin protein, and the deposition of new elastic fibers in cultures of human dermal fibroblasts and in cultured explants of human skin. Importantly, we found that such induction of new elastogenesis may involve two parallel signaling pathways triggered after activation of IGF-1 receptor. In the first one, the xGVxxG peptides interact with the cell surface elastin receptor, thereby causing the downstream activation of the c-Src kinase and a consequent cross-activation of the adjacent IGF-1R, even in the absence of its principal ligand. In the second pathway their hydrophobic association with the N-terminal domain (VGVTAG) of the serum-derived IGFBP-1 induces conformational changes of this IGF-1 chaperone allowing for the release of its cargo and a consequent ligand-specific phosphorylation of IGF-1R. Conclusion: We present a novel, clinically relevant mechanism in which products of partial degradation of dermal elastin may stimulate production of new elastic fibers by dermal fibroblasts. Our findings particularly encourage the use of biologically safe synthetic xGVxxG peptides for regeneration of the injured or aged human skin. © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Source

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