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Current HIV Research


ISSN (Print): 1570-162X
ISSN (Online): 1873-4251

Analysis of the Potential for HIV-1 Vpr as an Anti-Cancer Agent

Author(s): Karrupiah Muthumani, Vance M. Lambert, Niranjan Y. Sardesai, Jong J. Kim, Richard Heller, David B. Weiner and Kenneth E. Ugen

Volume 7, Issue 2, 2009

Page: [144 - 152] Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/157016209787581481

Price: $65


Viral protein R (Vpr) is a 14kD, 96 amino acid accessory protein of the HIV virion that has been demonstrated to have important functions in the viral replication cycle including, among others, the induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in rapidly proliferating cells, which results in immune dysfunction in infected individuals. Several investigators have studied the potential use of the apoptosis inducing and cell cycle arrest effect of Vpr as an anti-tumor therapeutic. In vitro studies have indicated that Vpr is cytotoxic against a large number of different tumor cell types including a number that are p53 independent. Likewise, some in vivo tumor studies using different delivery platforms/methods have indicated an anti-cancer effect mediated by Vpr. Our group has used the aggressive and poorly immunogenic murine melanoma tumor line B16.F10 as a model to deliver, through in vivo electroporation, Vpr expressing plasmids to established tumors and have demonstrated that this treatment regimen can induce growth attenuation and tumor regression in a proportion of the treated mice and appears to be associated with the induction of intratumoral apoptosis. Overall, to date, the data from a number of research groups, including our own, have indicated that Vpr has biological activity against a number of tumors in both in vivo and in vitro models and, as such, may be a potential candidate for testing in human clinical trials. In this report, we summarize the evidence supporting this hypothesis.

Keywords: Vpr, apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, anti-cancer activity, B16.F10 murine melanoma

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