Cancer therapy using oncolytic viruses has gained interest in the last decade. Vesicular stomatitis virus is an attractive candidate for this alternative treatment approach. The importance of the immune response against tumor antigens in virotherapy efficacy is now well recognized, however, its relative contribution versus the intrinsic oncolytic capacity of viruses has been difficult to evaluate. To start addressing this question, we compared glycoprotein and matrix mutants of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), showing different oncolytic potentials for B16/B16gp33 melanoma tumor cells in vitro, with the wild-type virus in their ability to induce tumor-specific CD8(+) T cell responses and control tumor progression in vivo. Despite the fact that wild-type and G mutants induced a stronger gp33-specific immune response compared to the MM51R mutant, all VSV strains showed a similar capacity to slow down tumor progression. The effectiveness of the matrix mutant treatment proved to be CD8(+) dependent and directed against tumor antigens other than gp33 since adoptive transfer of isolated CD8(+) T lymphocytes from treated B16gp33-bearing mice resulted in significant protection of naive mice against challenge with the parental tumor. Remarkably, the VSV matrix mutant induced the upregulation of major histocompatibility class-I antigen at the tumor cell surface thus favoring recognition by CD8(+) T cells. These results demonstrate that VSV mutants induce an antitumor immune response using several mechanisms. A better understanding of these mechanisms will prove useful for the rational design of viruses with improved therapeutic efficacy.
Although the role of the complement system in cancer development has been studied, its involvement in the development of an antitumoral immune response remains poorly understood. Using cobra venom factor (CVF) to inhibit the complement cascade via C3 molecule exhaustion in immunocompetent mice bearing B16gp33 melanoma tumors, we show that transient inhibition of the complement system allowed for the development of a more robust gp33-specific antitumoral CD8(+) T-cell response. This immune response proved to be natural killer (NK) dependent, suggesting an interaction of complement proteins with this cellular subset leading to T lymphocyte activation and enhanced cytotoxic T-cell activity against tumor cells. This study demonstrates for the first time the implication of the complement system in the development of NK-mediated cytotoxic T-cell-dependent antitumoral immune responses. The complement pathway could therefore be a potent therapeutic target to improve NK-dependent antitumoral immune responses in patients with cancer.
The role of the complement system in oncogenesis and tumor progression remains poorly understood. We have recently demonstrated that the induction of a tumor-specific CD8(+) T-cell response is improved upon transient inhibition of the complement system, which is coupled to an increased availability of natural killer cells. The complement system may therefore turn out to constitute a promising target for the development of novel anticancer therapeutics.
The RIG-I like receptor pathway is stimulated during RNA virus infection by interaction between cytosolic RIG-I and viral RNA structures that contain short hairpin dsRNA and 5 triphosphate (5ppp) terminal structure. In the present study, an RNA agonist of RIG-I was synthesized in vitro and shown to stimulate RIG-I-dependent antiviral responses at concentrations in the picomolar range. In human lung epithelial A549 cells, 5pppRNA specifically stimulated multiple parameters of the innate antiviral response, including IRF3, IRF7 and STAT1 activation, and induction of inflammatory and interferon stimulated genes - hallmarks of a fully functional antiviral response. Evaluation of the magnitude and duration of gene expression by transcriptional profiling identified a robust, sustained and diversified antiviral and inflammatory response characterized by enhanced pathogen recognition and interferon (IFN) signaling. Bioinformatics analysis further identified a transcriptional signature uniquely induced by 5pppRNA, and not by IFN?-2b, that included a constellation of IRF7 and NF-kB target genes capable of mobilizing multiple arms of the innate and adaptive immune response. Treatment of primary PBMCs or lung epithelial A549 cells with 5pppRNA provided significant protection against a spectrum of RNA and DNA viruses. In C57Bl/6 mice, intravenous administration of 5pppRNA protected animals from a lethal challenge with H1N1 Influenza, reduced virus titers in mouse lungs and protected animals from virus-induced pneumonia. Strikingly, the RIG-I-specific transcriptional response afforded partial protection from influenza challenge, even in the absence of type I interferon signaling. This systems approach provides transcriptional, biochemical, and in vivo analysis of the antiviral efficacy of 5pppRNA and highlights the therapeutic potential associated with the use of RIG-I agonists as broad spectrum antiviral agents.
Cancer is a complex disease that affects more and more people around the world. Unfortunately, existing treatments are only partially efficient and often induce major side effects. Thus, the use of viruses to selectively kill cancer cells is a new promising therapeutic approach. Recently, VSV has been used in oncolytic virotherapy because of its capacity to preferentially infect most human tumor cells. However, despite the availability of good oncolytic VSV mutants, the large variability of tumor cell types and the multiple ways in which they can evade viral infection suggests that therapeutic combinations of various viruses will be necessary to efficiently treat most cancers. A better understanding of the infection mechanisms and immune system recruitment by oncolytic viruses will be of great value for the development of safe and efficient strategies for cancer treatment.
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has been widely used to characterize cellular processes, viral resistance, and cytopathogenicity. Recently, VSV has also been used for oncolytic virotherapy due to its capacity to selectively lyse tumor cells. Mutants of the matrix (M) protein of VSV have generally been preferred to the wild-type virus for oncolysis because of their ability to induce type I interferon (IFN) despite causing weaker cytopathic effects. However, due to the large variability of tumor types, it is quite clear that various approaches and combinations of multiple oncolytic viruses will be needed to effectively treat most cancers. With this in mind, our work focused on characterizing the cytopathogenic profiles of four replicative envelope glycoprotein (G) VSV mutants. In contrast to the prototypic M mutant, VSV G mutants are as efficient as wild-type virus at inhibiting cellular transcription and host protein translation. Despite being highly cytopathic, the mutant G(6R) triggers type I interferon secretion as efficiently as the M mutant. Importantly, most VSV G mutants are more effective at killing B16 and MC57 tumor cells in vitro than the M mutant or wild-type virus through apoptosis induction. Taken together, our results demonstrate that VSV G mutants retain the high cytopathogenicity of wild-type VSV, with G(6R) inducing type I IFN secretion at levels similar to that of the M mutant. VSV G protein mutants could therefore prove to be highly valuable for the development of novel oncolytic virotherapy strategies that are both safe and efficient for the treatment of various types of cancer.
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