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Vol 55(2021) N 4 p. 555-564; DOI 10.1134/S0026893321030055 Full Text

S.V. Kalinichenko1, I.V. Korobko1, M.V. Shepelev2*

Combination of ARE and HRE cis- Regulatory Elements Elevates the Activity of Tumor-Specific hTERT Promoter

1Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119334 Russia
2Center for Precision Genome Editing and Genetic Technologies for Biomedicine, Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, 119334 Russia

*mshepelev@mail.ru
Received - 2020-12-17; Revised - 2021-02-18; Accepted - 2021-02-26

Tumor-specific promoters and cis-regulatory genetic elements are used for transcriptional control of therapeutic transgene expression in cancer gene therapy. HRE (hypoxia response element) and ARE (anti-oxidant response elements) cis-regulatory elements are targets for HIF1 and Nrf2 transcriptional factors, respectively, and mediate activation of gene transcription in a response to hypoxia and oxidative stress, characteristic of most solid tumors. Due to these features HREs and AREs are used in genetic constructs for cancer gene therapy to provide tumor-specific therapeutic transgene expression or replication of oncolytic adenovi-ruses. In this work on the basis of the tumor-specific promoter hTERT we have constructed hybrid promoters carrying combinations of HRE and ARE. We showed that upon imitation of hypoxia in human lung cancer cell lines the activity of the hybrid promoter HRE-ARE-hTERT is substantially higher compared to promoters carrying only ARE or HRE. Using in vitro suicide cancer gene therapy with the CD: UPRT/5-FC (cytosine deaminase; uracil phosphoribosyl transferase/5-fluorocytosine) enzyme-prodrug system as a model we showed an enhancement of the cytotoxic effect on human lung cancer cells upon imitation of hypoxia when cytosine deaminase: uracil phosphoribosyl transferase was expressed under the control of the HRE-ARE-hTERT promoter compared to HRE-hTERT and ARE-hTERT promoters. The novel hybrid promoter HRE-ARE-hTERT could be used for transcriptional targeting of therapeutic transgene expression or oncolytic adenovirus replication upon development of novel anti-cancer gene therapeutics.

HRE (hypoxia response element), ARE (antioxidant response element), hTERT promoter, cancer gene therapy, hypoxia, oxidative stress



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