Molecular analysis of human cancer cells infected by an oncolytic HSV-1 reveals multiple upregulated cellular genes and a role for SOCS1 in virus replication

Y Y Mahller, B Sakthivel, W H Baird, B J Aronow, Y-H Hsu, T P Cripe, R Mehrian-Shai
Cancer Gene Therapy 2008, 15 (11): 733-41
Oncolytic herpes simplex viruses (oHSVs) are promising anticancer therapeutics. We sought to characterize the functional genomic response of human cancer cells to oHSV infection using G207, an oHSV previously evaluated in a phase I trial. Five human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor cell lines, with differing sensitivity to oHSV, were infected with G207 for 6 h. Functional genomic analysis of virus-infected cells demonstrated large clusters of downregulated cellular mRNAs and smaller clusters of those upregulated, including 21 genes commonly upregulated in all five lines. Of these, 7 are known to be HSV-1 induced and 14 represent novel virus-regulated genes. Gene ontology analysis revealed that a majority of G207-upregulated genes are involved in Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling, transcriptional regulation, nucleic acid metabolism, protein synthesis and apoptosis. Ingenuity networks highlighted nodes for AP-1 subunits and interferon signaling via STAT1, suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS1), SOCS3 and RANTES. As biological confirmation, we found that virus-mediated upregulation of SOCS1 correlated with sensitivity to G207 and that depletion of SOCS1 impaired virus replication by >10-fold. Further characterization of roles provided by oHSV-induced cellular genes during virus replication may be utilized to predict oncolytic efficacy and to provide rational strategies for designing next-generation oncolytic viruses.

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