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Inhibition of Tumor Growth by Polyarginine-Fused Mutant Cytosine Deaminase

Wang, Wenfei, Zhang, Nan, Zhao, Tingting, Liu, Mingyao, Zhang, Tong, Li, Deshan
Applied biochemistry and biotechnology 2015 v.175 no.3 pp. 1633-1643
Escherichia coli, Western blotting, anticarcinogenic activity, biopharmaceuticals, biotechnology, cytosine deaminase, cytotoxicity, dose response, flow cytometry, green fluorescent protein, hepatoma, human cell lines, humans, in vitro studies, in vivo studies, liver, mice, microscopy, mutants, permeability, site-directed mutagenesis, therapeutics, thermal stability
Gene-directed enzyme-prodrug therapy is a method whereby cancerous tumors are selectively eradicated with minimal impact to healthy tissue. Due to its thermostability, E. coli cytosine deaminase (bCD) is one of the most widely used enzyme-prodrug combinations. However, wild-type bCD (wtbCD) displays a relatively poor turnover of 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), and also has low permeability as a hexamer macromolecule (∼300 kDa), like many other therapeutic proteins. To improve these shortcomings, site-specific mutagenesis was performed by infusing the bCD with R9, a typical and highly effective cell-penetrating peptide. The results obtained by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy showed that the R9 efficiently delivered the enhanced green fluorescent proteins (EGFP) into the human liver hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2) cells, and gathered at the nucleus, while EGFP alone did not have this ability. The penetrating efficiency of R9-EGPF was time and dose dependent. The results obtained by Western blot showed that R9-bCD, but not bCD proteins alone, could be uptaken into HepG2 cells. In vitro experiments showed that polyarginine enhanced the cytotoxicity of bCD, and R9-bCDmut had a stronger cytotoxicity than R9-bCD proteins. In vivo experiments also showed that R9-bCD and R9-bCDmut could prolong the survival time of tumor mice for 8–10 days. Future therapeutic applications of cell-permeable R9-bCDmut fusion proteins together with a systemic administration of 5-FC prodrug could result in profound anti-tumor activities.