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A Novel Fusion Protein Diphtheria Toxin-Stem Cell Factor (DT-SCF)—Purification and Characterization

Potala, Sirisha, Verma, Rama Shanker
Applied biochemistry and biotechnology 2010 v.162 no.5 pp. 1258-1269
affinity chromatography, amino acids, carcinoma, cell viability, genes, lymphocytic leukemia, myeloid leukemia, therapeutics
Fusion toxins are an emerging class of targeted therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. Diphtheria toxin-stem cell factor (DT-SCF) is one such novel fusion toxin designed to target malignancies expressing c-kit. Since, c-kit overexpression has been reported on many types of cancers, it appeared to be a reasonably good molecule to target. In the present study, we report construction, expression, purification, and characterization of DT-SCF. DT-SCF gene coding for 1-387 amino acids of diphtheria toxin, His-Ala linker, 2-141 amino acids of SCF was cloned into expression vector with C terminal His tag. The induced DT-SCF protein was exclusively expressed in insoluble fraction. Purification of DT-SCF was achieved by inclusion body isolation and metal affinity chromatography under denaturing and reducing conditions. Purified DT-SCF was renatured partially on-column by gradually reducing denaturant concentration followed by complete refolding through rapid dilution technique. Cell viability assay provided the evidence that DT-SCF is a potent cytotoxic agent selective to cells expressing c-kit. The novelty of this study lies in employing SCF as a ligand in construction of fusion toxin to target wide range of malignancies expressing c-kit. Efficacy of DT-SCF fusion toxin was demonstrated over a range of malignancies such as chronic myeloid leukemia (K562), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (MOLT4), pancreatic carcinoma (PANC-1), and cervical carcinoma (HeLa 229). This is the first study reporting specificity and efficacy of DT-SCF against tumor cells expressing c-kit. There was significant correlation (P = 0.007) between c-kit expression on cells and their sensitivity to DT-SCF fusion toxin.