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A virus-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (VDEPT) strategy for lung cancer using a CYP2B6/NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase fusion protein.

Author(s): Tychopoulos M, Corcos L, Genne P, Beaune P, de Waziers I

Affiliation(s): INSERM UMRS 490, Molecular Toxicology, Universite Rene Descartes, 45 rue des Saints-Peres, 75006 Paris, France.

Publication date & source: 2005-05, Cancer Gene Ther., 12(5):497-508.

Publication type: Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Virus-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (VDEPT) is an emerging strategy against cancer. Our approach is a P450-based VDEPT that consists of using cyclophosphamide (CPA) as a prodrug and a Cytochrome P450 2B6/NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase fusion protein (CYP2B6/RED) as a prodrug-activating enzyme. Due to the heterogenous expression of proteins in tumor cells, basal reductase activity may not be sufficient to supply CYP2B6 with electrons, the fusion protein should enable the expression of both proteins at high levels in tumor cells. CYP/RED fusion proteins have never been previously expressed in mammalian cells, to enable expression the fusion protein was cloned into an adenoviral vector and subsequently several pulmonary tumor cell lines were infected. The CYP2B6/RED fusion protein was detected by Western blot, its mRNA by Northern blot, and its heme incorporation into an active form by spectral analysis. Infection with the fusion gene increased RED activity in microsomes by a factor of 3 compared to the control. After infection and treatment with CPA, in cell lines with low endogenous RED, the fusion protein mediated significantly higher CPA-induced cytotoxicity compared to cells expressing solely CYP2B6. In conclusion, the fusion protein is functional for VDEPT by providing one protein for higher levels of CPA metabolism.

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