Background: DC-presenting tumor Ag are currently being developed to be used as a vaccine in human cancer immunotherapy. To increase the chances for successful therapy it is important to deliver full-length tumor Ag instead of loading single peptides. Methodologically, several recombinant DNA delivery techniques have been used.
Methods: In this study we compared nucleofection, an optimized form of electroporation, and adenoviral transduction regarding their efficiency to transduce human monocyte-derived (Mo-) DC in vitro. Expression of the tumor-associated Ag mucin-1 (MUC1) after adenoviral transduction (rAd5Fib35-MUC1) was determined using two MAb.
Results: We showed that the viability of cells and percentage of green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive cells after transduction with a fiber-modified adenoviral vector (rAd5F35-GFP) was much higher than after nucleofection. Furthermore, phenotype and function of DC were not impaired by infection with adenovirus particles. Cells matured normally; up-regulation of CD40, CD80, CD83, CD86 and HLA-DR was not affected by adenoviral transduction. The capacity to stimulate naive T-cell proliferation was preserved and no change in IL-10 production was observed. Production of IL-12 increased up to 500-fold upon adenoviral transduction, considered to contribute positively to an anti-tumor immune response. Non-transduced mature DC expressed low levels of endogenous MUC1. After transduction with the rAd5F35-MUC1 adenoviral vector, a 100-fold increase in MUC1 expression by DC was observed.
Discussion: The use of the fiber-modified adenoviral vector presented here may therefore be favorable compared with non-viral gene delivery systems for DC that will be used in cancer immunotherapy.