Myxoma virus expressing a fusion protein of interleukin-15 (IL15) and IL15 receptor alpha has enhanced antitumor activity

Vesna Tosic, Diana L. Thomas, David M. Kranz, Jia Liu, Grant McFadden, Joanna L. Shisler, Amy L. MacNeill, Edward J. Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Myxoma virus, a rabbit poxvirus, can efficiently infect various types of mouse and human cancer cells. It is a strict rabbit-specific pathogen, and is thought to be safe as a therapeutic agent in all non-rabbit hosts tested including mice and humans. Interleukin-15 (IL15) is an immuno-modulatory cytokine with significant potential for stimulating anti-tumor T lymphocytes and NK cells. Co-expression of IL15 with the α subunit of IL15 receptor (IL15Rα) greatly enhances IL15 stability and bioavailability. Therefore, we engineered a new recombinant myxoma virus (vMyx-IL15Rα-tdTr), which expresses an IL15Rα-IL15 fusion protein plus tdTomato red fluorescent reporter protein. Permissive rabbit kidney epithelial (RK-13) cells infected with vMyx-IL15Rα-tdTr expressed and secreted the IL15Rα-IL15 fusion protein. Functional activity was confirmed by demonstrating that the secreted fusion protein stimulated proliferation of cytokine-dependent CTLL-2 cells. Multi-step growth curves showed that murine melanoma (B16-F10 and B16.SIY) cell lines were permissive to vMyx-IL15Rα-tdTr infection. In vivo experiments in RAG1-/- mice showed that subcutaneous B16-F10 tumors treated with vMyx-IL15Rα-tdTr exhibited attenuated tumor growth and a significant survival benefit for the treated group compared to the PBS control and the control viruses (vMyx-IL15-tdTr and vMyx-tdTr). Immunohistological analysis of the subcutaneous tumors showed dramatically increased infiltration of NK cells in vMyx-IL15Rα-tdTr treated tumors compared to the controls. In vivo experiments with immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice revealed a strong infiltrate of both NK cells and CD8+ T cells in response to vMyx-IL15Rα-tdTr, and prolonged survival. We conclude that delivery of IL15Rα-IL15 in a myxoma virus vector stimulates both innate and adaptive components of the immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere109801
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 16 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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