Construction and Characterization of a Replication-Deficient Adenovirus Expressing Rat-Soluble Interleukin-6 Receptor
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BACKGROUND: The pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-6 mediates its multiple effects at the cell level through a multimeric receptor consisting of a binding protein (gp80) and a signal transducer (gp130). A soluble form of gp80 (sIL-6R or gp55) is found released from the surface of cells and appears to possess interleukin-6 (IL-6) agonist activity. Increases in circulating levels of sIL-6R have been reported in different pathological conditions but the precise role of this protein in vivo remains unknown. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The cDNA encoding the extracellular domain of the rat IL-6R (sIL-6R) with an appropriate leader sequence has been cloned into the E1 region of an adenovirus vector under the control of the hCMV promoter (Ad5.sIL-6R). RESULTS: Infection of different human or rodent cell lines with Ad5.sIL-6R leads to extended production of recombinant sIL-6R protein into the culture media. The kinetics of transgene expression depends both on the cell type and the species. sIL-6R produced in this manner is biologically active as it confers responsiveness of human hepatoma cells (HepG2) to rat IL-6 stimulation. Adenovirus vectors have been shown to be highly effective for transient delivery of cytokines in vivo. Antibodies against recombinant rat soluble IL-6R were generated and an ELISA developed that allowed us to quantify sIL-6R concentrations. The sIL-6R expressing adenovirus vector has been instilled intratracheally into rats and induced an increase in lung sIL-6R concentration from Day 1 up to Day 10. We demonstrate the potency of our system to deliver in vivo or in vitro soluble cytokine receptors in a prolonged but transient manner.
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