Gene transfer of baculoviral p35 by adenoviral vector protects human cerebral neurons from apoptosis

Alexei Miagkov, Jadwiga Turchan, Avindra Nath, Daniel B. Drachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Apoptosis plays an important role in neuronal cell death in both chronic and acute human neurological diseases, including ALS, Huntington's disease, cerebral ischemia, and HIV encephalopathy. We evaluated the ability of an extremely powerful antiapoptotic agent, baculoviral p35, to prevent apoptosis and cell death of human cerebral neurons that undergo severe neurotoxic changes in a culture system when treated with agents that are implicated in human neerological disorders, that is, tumor necrosis factor (TNFα) and the HIV proteins Tat and gp120. P35 is a potent broad-spectrum antiapoptotic protein derived from baculovirus, that inhibits nearly all caspases, and has other antiapoptotic actions as well. Adenoviral vectors expressing p35 (Ad.p35) or a control gene (lacZ) efficiently transduced human neurons. Treatment of control cultures with the toxic agents TNFα, TNFα plus Actinomycin D, or Tat and gp120, induced neurotoxicity and death of neurons. Transduction of neurons with Ad.p35 blocked apoptosis, and eliminated cell death due to TNFα, or Tat and gp120. Viral vector transfer of the p35 gene efficiently protects human neurons from TNFa, or Tat and gp120-induced apoptosis and cell death. These results suggest that p35 transduction of neurons by viral vectors could be therapeutically useful in the treatment of human neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-501
Number of pages6
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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