The use of adenovirus (Ad) vectors for cancer gene therapy applications is currently limited by several factors, including broad Ad tropism associated with the widespread expression of coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) in normal human tissues, as well as limited levels of CAR in tumor cells. To target Ad to relevant cell types, we have proposed using soluble CAR (sCAR) ectodomain fused with a ligand to block CARdependent native tropism and to simultaneously achieve infection through a novel receptor overexpressed in target cells. To confer Ad targeting capability on cancer cells expressing the c-erbB-2/HER-2/neu oncogene, we engineered a bispecific adapter protein, sCARfC6.5, that consisted of sCAR, phage T4 fibritin polypeptide, and C6.5 single-chain fragment variable (scFv) against c-erbB-2 oncoprotein. Incorporation of fibritin polypeptide provided trimerization of sCAR fusion proteins that, compared with monomeric sCAR protein, resulted in augmented affinity to Ad fiber knob domain and in increased ability to block CAR-dependent Ad infection. We demonstrated that sCARfC6.5 protein binds to cellular c-erbB-2 oncoprotein and mediates efficient Ad targeting via a CAR-independent pathway. As illustrated in cancer cell lines that overexpress c-erbB-2, targeted Ad, complexed with sCARfC6.5 adapter protein, provided from 1.5- to 17-fold enhancement of gene transfer compared with Ad alone and up to 130-fold increase in comparison with untargeted Ad complexed with sCARf control protein. The use of recombinant trimeric sCAR-scFv adapter proteins may augment Ad vector potency for targeting cancer cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-616
Number of pages8
JournalCancer research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2002


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