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Luz-Madrigal, A; Clapp, C; Aranda, J; Vaca, L (2007)


Virol. J. 4():55-60
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Background. Endothelial cells are a target for gene therapy because they are implicated in a number of vascular diseases. Recombinant baculovirus have emerged as novel gene delivery vectors. However, there is no information available concerning the use of endothelial-specific promoters in the context of the baculovirus genome. In the present study, we have generated a recombinant baculovirus containing the human flt-1 promoter (BacFLT-GFP) driving the expression of the green fluorescent protein. Transcriptional gene targeting was analyzed in vitro in different mammalian cell lines and in vivo in adult rat retinal vasculature. Results. BacFLT-GFP evoked the highest levels of expression in the endothelial cell line BUVEC-E6E7-1, similar to those reached by recombinant baculovirus carrying the CMV promoter (112% relative to BacCMV-GFP, n = 4). Interestingly, BacFLT-GFP directed high levels of expression in rat glioma C6 and in human glioblastoma CH235 cells (34.78% and 47.86% relative to BacCMV-GFP, respectively). Histone deacetylase inhibitors such as butyrate or trichostatin A enhanced the transcriptional activity of both BacCMV-GFP and BacFLT-GFP. Thus, in this study histone deacetylation appears to be a central mechanism for the silencing of baculovirus, independently of the promoter utilized. In vivo transcriptional targeting was demonstrated in adult rat retinal vasculature by intravitreal delivery of BacFLT-GFP and immunohistochemical staining with von Willebrand factor (vWF). Analysis by fluorescence microscopy and deconvolved three-dimensional confocal microscopy of retinal whole mounts obtained after 3 days of baculovirus injection showed that most GFP-expressing cells localized to the inner limiting membrane (ILM) and ganglion cell layer (GCL) and colocalize with vWF (70%, n = 10) in blood vessels, confirming the endothelial phenotype of the transduced cells. Conclusion. Taken together, our results indicate that the restricted expression in endothelial cells mediated by the flt-1 promoter is not affected by the context of the baculovirus genome and demonstrate the potential of using recombinant baculovirus for transcriptional targeted gene expression into the eye vasculature. © 2007 Agustín et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.