Salmonella promoters preferentially activated inside tumors

Cancer Res. 2008 Jun 15;68(12):4827-32. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-0552.


Salmonella enterica and avirulent derivatives prefer solid tumors over normal tissue in animal models. The identification of endogenous Salmonella promoters that are preferentially activated in tumors could further our understanding of this phenomenon. Toward this goal, a random library of S. enterica typhimurium 14028 genomic DNA was cloned upstream of a promoterless gene encoding the green fluorescent protein (GFP) TurboGFP. A population of Salmonella containing this library was injected i.v. into tumor-free nude mice and into human PC3 prostate tumors growing subcutaneously in nude mice. After 2 days, fluorescence-activated cell sorting was used to enrich for bacterial clones expressing GFP from spleens or tumors. The resulting libraries were hybridized to an oligonucleotide tiling array of the Salmonella genome. Eighty-six intergenic regions were found to be enriched in tumor samples but not in spleen. Twenty of these candidate promoters were also detected in the sequences of 100 random clones from a library enriched for expression in bacteria growing in tumors. Three candidate promoter clones were individually tested in vivo, and enhanced GFP expression in bacteria growing in tumor relative to spleen was confirmed. Two of the three clones (pflE and ansB promoter regions) are known to be induced in hypoxic conditions that pertain to many tumors. For many of the other candidate promoters preferentially induced in bacteria growing in tumors, regulatory mechanisms may not be related to hypoxia. The expression of therapeutics in Salmonella under the regulation of one or more promoters that are activated preferentially in tumors has the potential to improve the targeting of drug delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Library
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / microbiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / growth & development
  • Salmonella typhimurium / metabolism
  • Spleen / microbiology
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE9998