HER3 targeting of adenovirus by fiber modification increases infection of breast cancer cells in vitro, but not following intratumoral injection in mice
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Despite the tremendous potential of adenovirus (Ad) as a delivery vector for cancer gene therapy, its use in clinical settings has been limited, mainly as a result of the limited infectivity in many tumors and the wide tissue tropism associated with Ad. To modify the tropism of the virus, we have inserted the epidermal growth factor-like domain of the human heregulin-α (HRG) into the HI loop of Ad5 fiber. This insertion had no adverse effect on fiber trimerization nor did it affect incorporation of the modified fiber into infectious viral particles. Virions bearing modified fiber displayed growth characteristics and viral yields indistinguishable from those of wild-type (wt) virus. Most importantly, HRG-tagged virions showed enhanced infection of cells expressing the cognate receptors HER3/ErbB3 and HER4/ErbB4. This was significantly reduced in the presence of soluble HRG. Furthermore, HER3-expressing Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were transduced by the HRG-modified virus, but not by wt virus. In contrast, CHO cells expressing the coxsackie-Ad receptor were transduced with both viruses. However, infection of an in vivo breast cancer xenograft model after intratumoral injection was similar with both viruses, suggesting that the tumor microenvironment and/or the route of delivery have important roles in infection of target cells with fiber-modified Ads.
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