Use of viral fusogenic membrane glycoproteins as novel therapeutic transgenes in gliomas

E. Galanis, A. Bateman, K. Johnson, R. M. Diaz, C. D. James, R. Vile, S. J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors in adults and, with few exceptions, have a dismal prognosis despite the therapeutic use of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Because CNS gliomas rarely metastasize, they represent an attractive target for gene therapy through local gene delivery. Here we report on the use of two different fusogenic membrane glycoproteins (FMGs), the measles virus proteins F and H (MV-F and MV-H) and a mutated form of the retroviral envelope protein of the gibbon ape leukemia virus (GALV.fus), as a novel class of therapeutic transgenes in gliomas. Transfection of U87 and U118 cells with MV-F and MV-H cDNA or GALV.fus cDNA led in 48 hr to massive syncytial formation followed by cell death. FMG-mediated cytotoxicity in the U87 and U118 cell lines was superior to the cytotoxicity caused by transfection with HSV-tk cDNA followed by ganciclovir (GCV) treatment at all time points. At high-density cell seeding, addition of tumor cells transfected with MV-F and H killed at least 1 log more cells than by HSV-tk + GCV treatment, indicating higher bystander effect. Similar results were obtained with GALV.fus. The mechanism of syncytial death in cultured glioma cell lines was predominantly apoptotic. Transfection of U87 cells with F + H or GALV.fus expression constructs completely suppressed their tumorigenicity. Treatment of established U87 xenografts in nude mice with a combination of F and H adenoviruses at 1:1 ratio led to complete tumor regression, significantly higher antitumor effect, and prolongation of survival as compared with control animals treated with a GFP adenovirus. In summary, the viral fusogenic membrane glycoproteins (GALV and the MV-F + MV-H combination) are potent therapeutic transgenes with potential utility in the gene therapy of gliomas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-821
Number of pages11
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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