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A dual function fusion protein of Herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase and firefly luciferase for noninvasive in vivo imaging of gene therapy in malignant glioma

Söling, Ariane; Theiß, Christian; Jungmichel, Stephanie and Rainov, Nikolai G. (2004) A dual function fusion protein of Herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase and firefly luciferase for noninvasive in vivo imaging of gene therapy in malignant glioma. Genetic Vaccines and Therapy, 2 . Article Number: 7. ISSN 1479-0556

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Background: Suicide gene therapy employing the prodrug activating system Herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (HSV-TK)/ ganciclovir (GCV) has proven to be effective in killing experimental brain tumors. In contrast, glioma patients treated with HSV-TK/ GCV did not show significant treatment benefit, most likely due to insufficient transgene delivery to tumor cells. Therefore, this study aimed at developing a strategy for real-time noninvasive in vivo monitoring of the activity of a therapeutic gene in brain tumor cells. Methods: The HSV-TK gene was fused to the firefly luciferase (Luc) gene and the fusion construct HSV-TK-Luc was expressed in U87MG human malignant glioma cells. Nude mice with subcutaneous gliomas stably expressing HSV-TK-Luc were subjected to GCV treatment and tumor response to therapy was monitored in vivo by serial bioluminescence imaging. Bioluminescent signals over time were compared with tumor volumes determined by caliper. Results: Transient and stable expression of the HSV-TK-Luc fusion protein in U87MG glioma cells demonstrated close correlation of both enzyme activities. Serial optical imaging of tumor bearing mice detected in all cases GCV induced death of tumor cells expressing the fusion protein and proved that bioluminescence can be reliably used for repetitive and noninvasive quantification of HSV-TK/ GCV mediated cell kill in vivo. Conclusion: This approach may represent a valuable tool for the in vivo evaluation of gene therapy strategies for treatment of malignant disease.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Published: 04 August 2004. 3 pages (page numbers not for citation purposes).
Uncontrolled Keywords:Suicide gene therapy; brain tumors; glioma patients; in vivo; malignant disease
Subjects:R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Medicine > School of Clinical Sciences
Publisher's Statement:© 2004 Söling et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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ID Code:780
Deposited On:11 Jul 2008 15:30
Last Modified:24 Apr 2012 09:38

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