• Anti-apoptotic activity of the herpes simplex virus type 2 gene ICP10 PK: Implications for therapy of neurological disorders that involve apoptosis

      Perkins, Dana Stela; Aurelian, Laure (2002)
      Apoptosis is an etiologic component of neurodegenerative disorders [e.g. Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)] and acute brain injury (ischemia/hypoxia and trauma). Our laboratory has previously shown that a Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) gene, ICP10 PK, activates the Ras/MEK/ERK pathway in non-neuronal cells. Because this pathway was implicated in neuronal cell survival, the present studies tested whether ICP 10 PK blocks apoptosis in various experimental paradigms of neuronal apoptosis: (1) virus infection of primary hippocampal cultures, (2) trophic factor deprivation of NGF-dependent PC12 cells and primary hippocampal cultures, (3) naturally occurring genetic disorders such as the mouse trisomy 16 (Ts16), and (4) oxidative stress of N2a neuronal cells that express a mutant superoxide dismutase-1 (G85R). In the virus infection paradigm, HSV-1 and an HSV-2 mutant deleted in ICP10 PK (ICP10DeltaPK) induced apoptosis, but apoptosis was not seen for HSV-2 and an HSV-2 mutant that retains the ICP10 PK (ICP10DeltaRR), suggesting that ICP10 PK has anti-apoptotic activity. This activity was dependent on activation of the Raf/MEK/ERK survival pathway and inhibition of the pro-apoptotic JNK/c-Jun pathway. It involved inhibition of caspase-3 activation and PARP cleavage, likely resulting from induction of the anti-apoptotic protein Bag-1 and inhibition of the pro-apoptotic protein Bad. Ectopically expressed ICP10 PK inhibited apoptosis in the three other tested paradigms. The broad anti-apoptotic activity of ICP10 PK suggests that it may be used in gene therapy of neurological disorders that involve apoptosis. A replication-deficient HSV-2 mutant (ICP10DeltaRR) engineered in our laboratory, was used for non-invasive delivery of ICP10 PK to the CNS. Expression of the therapeutic ICP10 PK gene following intranasal administration in the mouse, was consistent with a central spread of the vector through the central olfactory pathways to the hippocampus and related limbic structures. Collectively, the data suggest that ICP10 PK has broad anti-apoptotic activity and can be delivered to the CNS by peripheral administration of a replication-deficient HSV-2 vector.
    • Molecular mechanisms of neuroprotection by the herpes simplex virus type 2 gene ICP10PK

      Wales, Samantha Q.; Aurelian, Laure (2008)
      Recent progress in molecular biology has focused interest on gene therapy as a strategy for the control of chronic and acute neurodegenerative disorders. However, the selection of the appropriate gene and delivery vector is a clinical challenge. Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is a promising gene delivery vector, as it is neurotropic, has a large genome that is amenable to genetic manipulation, and unlike HSV-1, it does not cause encephalitis in adult humans. HSV-2 contains an anti-apoptotic serine/threonine protein kinase (known as ICP10PK), that acts as a constitutively activated growth factor receptor. It activates Ras and its downstream MEK/ERK survival pathway and inhibits apoptosis caused by virus infection of primary hippocampal cultures (Perkins et al. 2003b, Perkins et al. 2002a). The studies described in this report were designed to examine the molecular mechanisms of ICP10PK-mediated neuroprotection, and ensure that it can act independently of other viral proteins. Rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells stably transfected with ICP10PK (PC47 and PC70 cells) or its kinase-negative mutant p139(TM) (PC139 cells), were neuronally differentiated by culture with nerve growth factor (NGF) and examined for cell survival after NGF withdrawal. Apoptosis was seen in PC12 and PC139, but not PC47 and PC70 cells. In PC47 cells, neuroprotection was MEK- and PKA-dependent, associated with stabilization/activation of the transcription factor cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB), inhibition (phosphorylation) of the pro-apoptotic protein Bad and stabilization of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bag-1. In PC70 cells, neuroprotection occurred downstream of caspase activation, and involved MEK-dependent up-regulation of the anti-apoptotic protein XIAP and down-regulation of the XIAP inhibitor Smac/DIABLO. To examine whether ICP10PK is also neuroprotective in other paradigms, we examined its effect in an in vitro model of Parkinson's disease, using the neurotoxin MPP+. ICP10PK, but not p139(TM), inhibited MPP +-induced programmed cell death through inhibition of calpain-dependent Bax translocation to the mitochondria, AIF nuclear translocation, and caspase activation, indicating that the actions of ICP10PK are kinase-dependent. Collectively, the data indicate that ICP10PK has broad-spectrum neuroprotective activity that extends beyond apoptotic cellular programs. Further study of its use as a gene therapy strategy is warranted.