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  A mammalianized synthetic nitroreductase gene for high-level expression

Grohmann, M., Paulmann, N., Fleischhauer, S., Vowinckel, J., Priller, J., & Walther, D. J. (2009). A mammalianized synthetic nitroreductase gene for high-level expression. BMC Cancer, 9, 301-301. doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-301.

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 Creators:
Grohmann, Maik1, Author              
Paulmann, Nils1, Author              
Fleischhauer, Sebastian2, Author
Vowinckel, Jakob1, Author              
Priller, Josef, Author
Walther, Diego J.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Dept. of Human Molecular Genetics (Head: Hans-Hilger Ropers), Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1433549              
2Max Planck Society, ou_persistent13              

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 Abstract: Background The nitroreductase/5-(azaridin-1-yl)-2,4-dinitrobenzamide (NTR/CB1954) enzyme/prodrug system is considered as a promising candidate for anti-cancer strategies by gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (GDEPT) and has recently entered clinical trials. It requires the genetic modification of tumor cells to express the E. coli enzyme nitroreductase that bioactivates the prodrug CB1954 to a powerful cytotoxin. This metabolite causes apoptotic cell death by DNA interstrand crosslinking. Enhancing the enzymatic NTR activity for CB1954 should improve the therapeutical potential of this enzyme-prodrug combination in cancer gene therapy. Methods We performed de novo synthesis of the bacterial nitroreductase gene adapting codon usage to mammalian preferences. The synthetic gene was investigated for its expression efficacy and ability to sensitize mammalian cells to CB1954 using western blotting analysis and cytotoxicity assays. Results In our study, we detected cytoplasmic protein aggregates by expressing GFP-tagged NTR in COS-7 cells, suggesting an impaired translation by divergent codon usage between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Therefore, we generated a synthetic variant of the nitroreductase gene, called ntro, adapted for high-level expression in mammalian cells. A total of 144 silent base substitutions were made within the bacterial ntr gene to change its codon usage to mammalian preferences. The codon-optimized ntro either tagged to gfp or c-myc showed higher expression levels in mammalian cell lines. Furthermore, the ntro rendered several cell lines ten times more sensitive to the prodrug CB1954 and also resulted in an improved bystander effect. Conclusion Our results show that codon optimization overcomes expression limitations of the bacterial ntr gene in mammalian cells, thereby improving the NTR/CB1954 system at translational level for cancer gene therapy in humans.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2009-08-27
 Publication Status: Published in print
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Title: BMC Cancer
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 9 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 301 - 301 Identifier: ISSN: 1471-2407