Use of MicroRNA Let-7 to Control the Replication Specificity of Oncolytic Adenovirus in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells
by Huajun Jin, Saiqun Lv, Jiahe Yang, Xiaoning Wang, Huanzhang Hu, Changqing Su, Chengliang Zhou, Jiang Li, Yao Huang, Linfang Li, Xinyuan Liu, Mengchao Wu, Qijun Qian
Highly selective therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains an unmet medical need. In present study, we found that the tumor suppressor microRNA, let-7 was significantly downregulated in a proportion of primary HCC tissues (12 of 33, 36.4%) and HCC cell lines. In line with this finding, we have engineered a chimeric Ad5/11 fiber oncolytic adenovirus, SG7011let7T, by introducing eight copies of let-7 target sites (let7T) into the 3′ untranslated region of E1A, a key gene associated with adenoviral replication. The results showed that the E1A expression (both RNA and protein levels) of the SG7011let7T was tightly regulated according to the endogenous expression level of the let-7. As contrasted with the wild-type adenovirus and the control virus, the replication of SG7011let7T was distinctly inhibited in normal liver cells lines (i.e. L-02 and WRL-68) expressing high level of let-7 (>300 folds), whereas was almost not impaired in HCC cells (i.e. Hep3B and PLC/PRF/5) with low level of let-7. Consequently, the cytotoxicity of SG7011let7T to normal liver cells was successfully decreased while was almost not attenuated in HCC cells in vitro. The antitumor ability of SG7011let7T in vivo was maintained in mice with Hep3B xenograft tumor, whereas was greatly decreased against the SMMC-7721 xenograft tumor expressing a high level of let-7 similar with L-02 when compared to the wild-type adenovirus. These results suggested that SG7011let7T may be a promising anticancer agent or vector to mediate the expression of therapeutic gene, broadly applicable in the treatment for HCC and other cancers where the let-7 gene is downregulated.
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