ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0779.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Oncology & Oncogenics Keywords: Adenovirus; Oncolytic; Virotherapy; Targeting; αvβ6 integrin; Systemic delivery
Online: 31 March 2021 (15:30:59 CEST)
Background: We previously developed a refined, tumor selective adenovirus, Ad5NULL-A20, har-boring tropism ablating mutations in each major capsid protein, to ablate all native means of infection. We incorporated a 20mer peptide (A20) in the fiber knob for selective infection via αvβ6 integrin, a marker of aggressive epithelial cancers. Methods: To ascertain the selectivity of Ad5NULL-A20 for αvβ6 positive tumor cell lines of pancreatic and breast cancer origin, we performed reporter gene and cell viability assays. Biodistribution of viral vectors in mice harboring xenografts with low, medium, and high αvβ6 levels was quantified by qPCR for viral genomes 48 hours post intravenous administration. Results: Ad5NULL-A20 vector transduced cells in an αvβ6 selective manner, whilst cell killing me-diated by oncolytic Ad5NULL-A20 was αvβ6 selective. Biodistribution analysis following intrave-nous administration into mice bearing breast cancer xenografts demonstrated that Ad5NULL-A20 resulted in significantly reduced liver accumulation coupled with increased tumor accumulation compared to Ad5 in all three models, with tumor: liver ratios improved as a function of αvβ6 expression. Conclusions: Ad5NULL-A20 based virotherapies efficiently target αvβ6 integrin positive tumors following intravenous administration, validating the potential of Ad5NULL-A20 for systemic ap-plications, enabling tumor selective overexpression of virally encoded therapeutic transgenes.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0454.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Clinical Neurology Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; DNA damage; somatic mutation; integrin; synaptic adhesion
Online: 23 August 2021 (14:34:00 CEST)
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a genetically complex senile neurodegeneration with unknown etiology. The first gene discovered to be mutated in early-onset AD, the amyloid precursor protein (APP), has been widely assumed as a causal factor in the disease cascade due to its generation of Aβ species. APP has an evolutionarily conserved biological role and activates a signaling program with notable similarities to integrin—a cell adhesion receptor with a wide array of functions. Intriguingly, several AD genome-wide association study (GWAS) candidate genes, including the SHARPIN locus recently reported by us and others, influence signaling of the integrin pathway. Integrins are focal adhesion regulators and serve in nervous system development, synaptic plasticity, and Tau phosphorylation. These observations suggest that the function of APP probably goes beyond Aβ generation in AD. Aging—the strongest risk factor for AD—is associated with various clock-like events in cells. For instance, neurons are continuously impacted by stochastic ‘hits’ to their genomes in aging, in the forms of DNA damage, insertion-deletions, copy-number variations (CNVs) and other types of somatic mutations. DNA damage and somatic mutations can result in neoplastic changes and cancer in mitotically active cells. However, their consequences in post-mitotic cells such as aging neurons are less defined. The current hypothesis holds that the stochastic loss of DNA sequence data at random loci in aging affects longer genes by chance more frequently. As a result, the biological processes coordinated by long genes may be more vulnerable to such random aging effects. Curiously, as shown by us and others, long genes are strongly enriched for synapse- and cell adhesion-related ontologies, more than any other biological process or cellular compartment. In addition, among various cell types, neurons possess the highest levels of long gene expression and are therefore more vulnerable to such harmful effects. The long gene vulnerability hypothesis provides a simple link between aging and the genetic landscape of AD and warrants new strategies for disease modification.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints201805.0273.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: adenovirus; oncolytic; targeting; virotherapy; cancer; αvβ6 integrin; immunotherapy; tropism
Online: 15 June 2018 (05:14:24 CEST)
The licensing of talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec) represented a landmark moment for oncolytic virotherapy, since it provided unequivocal evidence for the long-touted potential of genetically modified replicating viruses as anti-cancer agents. Whilst T-Vec is promising as a locally delivered virotherapy, especially in combination with immune-checkpoint inhibitors, the quest continues for a virus capable of specific tumour cell killing via systemic administration. One candidate is oncolytic adenovirus (Ad); it’s double stranded DNA genome is easily manipulated and a wide range of strategies and technologies have been employed to empower the vector with improved pharmacokinetics and tumour targeting ability. As well characterised clinical and experimental agents, we have detailed knowledge of adenoviruses’ mechanisms of pathogenicity, supported by detailed virological studies and in vivo interactions. In this review we highlight the strides made in the engineering of bespoke adenoviral vectors to specifically infect, replicate within, and destroy tumour cells. We discuss how mutations in genes regulating adenoviral replication after cell entry can be used to restrict replication to the tumour, and summarise how detailed knowledge of viral capsid interactions enable rational modification to eliminate native tropisms, and simultaneously promote active uptake by cancerous tissues. We argue that these designer-viruses, exploiting the viruses natural mechanisms and regulated at every level of replication, represent the ideal platforms for local overexpression of therapeutic transgenes such as immunomodulatory agents. Where T-Vec has paved the way, Ad-based vectors now follow. The era of designer oncolytic virotherapies looks decidedly as though it will soon become a reality.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0084.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Oncology & Oncogenics Keywords: adenovirus; oncolytic; virotherapy; targeting; immunotherapy; immunogenic cell death; αvβ6 integrin
Online: 3 November 2020 (08:19:31 CET)
More people are surviving longer with cancer. Whilst this can be partially attributed to advances in early detection of cancers, there is little doubt that the improvement in survival statistics is also due to the expansion in the spectrum of treatments available for efficacious treatment. Transformative amongst those are immunotherapies, which have proven effective agents for treating immunogenic forms of cancer, though immunologically “cold” tumour types remain refractive. Oncolytic viruses, such as those based on adenovirus have great potential as anti-cancer agents and have seen a resurgence of interest in recent years. Amongst their many advantages is their ability to induce immunogenic cell death (ICD) of infected tumour cells, thus providing the alluring potential to synergize with immunotherapies by turning immunologically “cold” tumours “hot”. Additionally, enhanced immune mediated cell killing can be promoted through the local overexpression of immunological transgenes, encoded from within the engineered viral genome. To achieve this full potential requires the development of refined, tumour selective “precision virotherapies” that are extensively engineered to prevent off-target up take via native routes of infection, and targeted to infect and replicate uniquely within malignantly transformed cells. Here, we review the latest advances towards this holy grail within the adenoviral field.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0118.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Memory; talin; mechanobiology; information-processing; MeshCODE; brain; neuroscience; integrin; learning; cytoskeleton; REM sleep; vinculin; actin
Online: 22 October 2020 (05:40:50 CEST)
One of the major unsolved mysteries of biological science concerns the question of where and in what form information is stored in the brain. I propose that memory is stored in the brain in a mechanically encoded binary format written into the conformations of proteins found in the cell-extracellular matrix adhesions that organise each and every synapse. The MeshCODE framework outlined here represents a unifying theory of data storage in animals, providing read-write storage of both dynamic and persistent information in a binary format. Mechanosensitive proteins that contain force-dependent switches can store information persistently, which can be written or updated using small changes in mechanical force. These mechanosensitive proteins, such as talin, scaffold each synapse, creating a meshwork of switches that together form a code, the so-called MeshCODE. Large signalling complexes assemble on these scaffolds as a function of the switch patterns and these complexes would both stabilise the patterns and coordinate synaptic regulators to dynamically tune synaptic activity. Synaptic transmission and action potential spike trains would operate the cytoskeletal machinery to write and update the synaptic MeshCODEs, thereby propagating this coding throughout the organism. Based on established biophysical principles, such a mechanical basis for memory would provide a physical location for data storage in the brain, with the binary patterns, encoded in the information-storing mechanosensitive molecules in the synaptic scaffolds, and the complexes that form on them, representing the physical location of engrams. Furthermore, the conversion and storage of sensory and temporal inputs into a binary format would constitute an addressable read-write memory system, supporting the view of the mind as an organic supercomputer.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0125.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: ATP synthase; cancer cell; mitochondria; glioblastoma; integrin αvβ3; NADH dehydro-genase; tetrac; thyroid hormones
Online: 9 March 2022 (01:55:26 CET)
Chemically modified forms of tetraiodothyroacetic acid (tetrac), an L-thyroxine derivative, have been shown to exert their anticancer activity at plasma membrane integrin αvβ3 of tumor cells. Via a specific hormone receptor on the integrin, tetrac-based therapeutic agents modulate expression of genes relevant to cancer cell proliferation, survival and energy metabolism. P-bi-TAT, a novel bivalent tetrac-containing synthetic compound has anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo against Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) and other types of human cancers. In the current study, microarray analysis was carried out on a primary culture of human GBM cells exposed to P-bi-TAT (10-6 tetrac equivalent) for 24 h. P-bi-TAT significantly affected expression of a large panel of genes implicated in cancer cell stemness, growth, survival, and angiogenesis. Recent interest elsewhere in ATP synthase as a target in GBM cells caused us to focus attention on expression of genes involved in energy metabolism. Significantly downregulated transcripts included multiple energy metabolism-related genes: electron transport chain genes ATP5A1 (ATP synthase 1), ATP51, ATP5G2, COX6B1 (cytochrome c oxidase subunit 6B1), NDUFA8 (NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] FA8), NDUFV2I and other NDUF genes. The NDUF and ATP genes are also relevant to control of oxidative phosphorylation and transcription. Qualitatively similar actions of P-bi-TAT on expression of energy metabolism-linked genes were also detected in established human GBM and pancreatic cancer cell lines. In conclusion, acting at αvβ3 integrin, P-bi-TAT caused downregulation in human cancer cells of expression of a large number of genes involved in electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. These observations suggest that cell surface thyroid hormone receptors on αvβ3 regulate expression of genes relevant to tumor cell stemness and energy metabolism.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202110.0450.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Gastroenterology Keywords: Fibrosis; Integrin; TGFβ; Therapeutic target; Drug; Inhibitor; Monoclonal antibody; α8β1; α11β1; Hepatic stellate cell
Online: 29 October 2021 (10:16:13 CEST)
Huge effort has been devoted to developing drugs targeting integrins over 30 years, because of the primary roles of integrins in the cell-matrix milieu. Five αv-containing integrins, in the 24 family members, have been a central target of fibrosis. Currently, a small molecule against αvβ1 is undergoing a clinical trial for NASH-associated fibrosis as a rare reagent aiming at fibrogenesis. Latent TGFβ activation, a distinct talent of αv-integrins, has been intriguing as therapeutic target. None of the αv-integrin inhibitors, however, has been in the clinical market. αv-integrins commonly recognize an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) sequence, and thus the pharmacophore of inhibitors for the 5-integrins is based on the same RGD structure. The RGD preference of the integrins, at the same time, dilutes ligand specificity, as the 5-integrins share ligands containing RGD sequence such as fibronectin. With the inherent little specificity in both drugs and targets, “disease specificity” has become less important for the inhibitors than blocking as many αv-integrins. In fact, an almighty inhibitor for αv-integrins, pan-αv, was in a clinical trial. On the contrary, approved integrin inhibitors are all specific to target integrins, which are expressed in cell-type specific manner: αIIbβ3 on platelets, α4β1, α4β7 and αLβ2 on leukocytes. Herein, “disease specific” integrins would serve as attractive targets. α8β1 and α11β1 are selectively expressed in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and distinctively induced upon culture activation. The exceptional specificity to activated HSCs reflects rather “pathology specific” nature of these new integrins. The monoclonal antibodies against α8β1 and α11β1 in preclinical examinations may illuminate the road to the first medical reagents.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0461.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Cardiology Keywords: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy; Left ventricular outflow tract obstruction; single nucleus RNA-sequencing; dendritic cells; integrin-b1.
Online: 29 December 2021 (09:43:00 CET)
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common inherited disorder characterized by unexplained left ventricular hypertrophy, with or without left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction. Single nuclei RNA-sequencing (snRNA-seq) of both obstructive and nonobstructive HCM patient samples have revealed alterations in communication between various cell types but a direct and integrated comparison between the two HCM phenotypes has not been reported. We performed a bioinformatic analysis of HCM snRNA-seq datasets from obstructive and nonobstructive patient samples to identify differentially expressed genes and distinctive patterns of intercellular communication. Differential gene expression analysis revealed 37 differentially expressed genes, predominantly in cardiomyocytes but also in other cell types, relevant to aging, muscle contraction, cell motility and the extracellular matrix. Intercellular communication was generally reduced in HCM, affecting the extracellular matrix, growth factor binding, integrin binding, PDGF binding and SMAD binding, but with increases in adenylate cyclase binding, calcium channel inhibitor activity, and serine-threonine kinase activity in nonobstructive HCM. Increases in neuron to leukocyte and dendritic cell communication, in fibroblast to leukocyte and dendritic cell communication and in endothelial cell communication to other cell types, largely through changes in expression of integrin-b1 and its cognate ligands, were also noted. These findings indicate both common and distinct physiological mechanisms affecting the pathogenesis of obstructive and nonobstructive HCM and provide opportunities for personalized management of different HCM phenotypes.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Glioblastom; high-grade glioma; convection enhanced delivery; OS2966; CD29; β1 integrin; ITGB1; monoclonal antibody; clinical trial
Online: 2 December 2020 (09:11:37 CET)
Introduction: OS2966 is a fist-in-class, humanized and de-immunized monoclonal antibody which targets the adhesion receptor subunit, CD29/β1 integrin. CD29 expression is highly upregulated in glioblastoma and has been shown to drive tumor progression, invasion, and resistance to multiple modalities of therapy. Here, we present a novel Phase I clinical trial design addressing several factors plaguing effective treatment of high-grade gliomas (HGG). Study Design: This 2-part, ascending-dose, Phase I clinical trial will enroll patients with recurrent/progressive HGG requiring a clinically-indicated resection. In Study Part 1, patients will undergo stereotactic tumor biopsy followed by placement of a purpose-built catheter which will be used for intratumoral, convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of OS2966. Subsequently, patients will undergo their clinically-indicated tumor resection followed by CED of OS2966 to the surrounding tumor-infiltrated brain. Matched pre- and post-infusion tumor specimens will be utilized for biomarker development and validation of target engagement by receptor occupancy. Dose escalation will be achieved using a unique concentration-based accelerated titration design. Discussion: The present study design leverages multiple innovations including: 1) the latest CED technology, 2) 2-part design including neoadjuvant intratumoral administration, 3) a first-in-class investigational therapeutic, and 4) concentration-based dosing. Trial registration: A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational New Drug application (IND) for the above protocol is now active. A Phase I trial is registered at clinicialtrials.gov (NCT04608812).
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0399.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Obstetrics & Gynaecology Keywords: microRNA; miR-142-3p; endometriosis; cytoskeleton; integrin; collagen; WASL; ITGAV; endometrial stroma cells; in vitro study
Online: 17 July 2020 (16:08:42 CEST)
Downregulated microRNA-142-3p signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of endometriosis  , an invasive disease where the lining of the uterus grows at ectopic locations, by yet incompletely understood mechanisms. Using bioinformatics and in vitro assays, this study identifies cytoskeletal regulation and integrin signaling as two relevant categories of miR-142-3p targets. qPCR revealed that miR-142-3p upregulation in St-T1b cells downregulates ROCK2, CFL2, RAC1, WASL and ITGAV. qPCR and Western-blotting showed miR-142-3p effect on WASL and ITGAV was significant also in primary endometriotic stroma cells. Luciferase reporter assays in ST-T1b cells then confirmed direct regulation of ITGAV and WASL. On the functional side, miR-142-3p upregulation significantly reduced ST-T1b cell size, the size of vinculin plaques, migration through fibronectin-coated transwell filters and the ability of ST-T1b and primary endometriotic stroma cells to contract collagen I gels. These results suggest that miR-142-3p has a strong mechanoregulatory effect on endometrial stroma cells and its external administration reduces the invasive endometrial phenotype. Within the limits of an in vitro investigation, our study provides new mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of endometriosis and provides a perspective for the development of miR-142-3p based drugs for inhibiting invasive growth of endometriotic cells.