Scott, S D; Marples, B; Hendry, Jolyon H; Lashford, Linda S; Embleton, M J; Hunter, Robin D; Howell, Anthony; Margison, Geoffrey P (2000-07)
Ionising radiation induces the expression of a number of radiation-responsive genes and there is current interest in exploiting this to regulate the expression of exogenous therapeutic genes in gene therapy strategies for cancer. However, the radiation-responsive promoters used in these approaches are often associated with low and transient levels of therapeutic gene expression. We describe here a novel radiation-triggered molecular switching device based on promoter elements from the radiation-responsive Egr-1 gene and the cre-LoxP site-specific recombination system of the P1 bacteriophage. Using this system, a single, minimally toxic dose of radiation induced cre-mediated excision of a lox-P flanked stop cassette in a silenced expression vector and this resulted in amplified levels of CMV-promoter-driven expression of the exogenous tumour-sensitising gene, HSV-tk. This strategy could be used in combination with targeted delivery and tumour-specific promoters to elicit the tumour-targeted and prolonged expression of a variety of tumour-sensitising genes and provide an unprecedented level of control and tumour selectivity.
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