Persistent infection of a canine histiocytic sarcoma cell line with attenuated canine distemper virus expressing vasostatin or granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor
Canine histiocytic sarcoma (HS) represents a neoplasia with poor prognosis. Due to the high metastatic rate of HS, there is urgency to improve treatment options and to prevent tumor metastases. Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a single-stranded negative-sense RNA (ssRNA (-)) virus with potentially oncolytic properties. Moreover, vasostatin and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) are attractive molecules in cancer therapy research because of their anti-angiogenetic properties and potential modulation of the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, an in vitro characterization of two genetically engineered viruses based on the CDV strain Onderstepoort (CDV-Ond), CDV-Ondneon-vasostatin and CDV-Ondneon-GM-CSF was performed. Canine histiocytic sarcoma cells (DH82 cells) were persistently infected with CDV-Ond, CDV-Ondneon, CDV-Ondneon-vasostatin and CDV-Ondneon-GM-CSF and characterized on a molecular and protein level regarding their vasostatin and GM-CSF production. Interestingly, DH82 cells persistently infected with CDV-Ondneon-vasostatin showed a significantly increased number of vasostatin mRNA transcripts. Similarly, DH82 cells persistently infected with CDV-Ondneon-GM-CSF displayed an increased number of GM-CSF mRNA transcripts mirrored on the protein level as confirmed by immunofluorescence and Western blot. In summary, modified CDV-Ond strains expressed GM-CSF and vasostatin, rendering them promising candidates for the improvement of oncolytic virotherapies, which should be further detailed in future in vivo studies.