Interleukin-2 (IL-2) has been shown to promote tumor-specific T-cell proliferation and differentiation but systemic administration of IL-2 results in significant toxicity. Therefore, a strategy that can specifically deliver IL-2 to the tumor location may alleviate concerns of toxicity. Because NKG2D ligands have been shown to be highly expressed in many cancer cells but not in healthy cells, we reason that a chimeric protein consisting of NKG2D linked to IL-2 will lead to the specific targeting of IL-2 to the tumor location. Therefore, we created chimeric proteins consisting of NKG2D linked to Gaussia luciferase (GLuc; a marker protein) or IL-2 to form NKG2D-Fc-GLuc and NKG2D-Fc-IL2, respectively. We demonstrated that NKG2D linked to GLuc was able to deliver GLuc to the tumor location in vivo. Furthermore, we showed that TC-1 tumor-bearing mice intramuscularly injected with DNA encoding NKG2D-Fc-IL2, followed by electroporation, exhibited an increased number of luciferase-expressing E7-specific CD8+ T cells at the tumor location. More importantly, treatment with the DNA construct encoding NKG2D-Fc-IL2 significantly enhanced the therapeutic anti-tumor effects generated by intradermal vaccination with therapeutic HPV DNA in tumor-bearing mice. Therefore, by linking NKG2D to IL2, we are able to specifically deliver IL-2 to the tumor location, enhancing antigen-specific T-cell immune response and controlling tumor growth. Our approach represents a platform technology to specifically deliver proteins of interest to tumor loci.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)