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A Heat-Inducible Transgene Expression System for Gene Therapy

Authors: Masaki Yamaguchi, Akira Ito, Noriaki Okamoto, Yoshinori Kawabe, Masamichi Kamihira


Heat-inducible gene expression vectors are useful for hyperthermia-induced cancer gene therapy, because the combination of hyperthermia and gene therapy can considerably improve the therapeutic effects. In the present study, we developed an enhanced heat-inducible transgene expression system in which a heat-shock protein (HSP) promoter and tetracycline-responsive transactivator were combined. When the transactivator plasmid containing the tetracycline-responsive transactivator gene was co-transfected with the reporter gene expression plasmid, a high level of heat-induced gene expression was observed compared with that using the HSP promoter without the transactivator. In vitro evaluation of the therapeutic effect using HeLa cells showed that heat-induced therapeutic gene expression caused cell death in a high percentage of these cells, indicating that this strategy is promising for cancer gene therapy.

Keywords: Inducible gene expression, Gene therapy, Hyperthermia, Heat shock protein, Tetracycline transactivator.

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