Human nerve growth factor receptor and cytosine deaminase fusion genes

Victor A. Lewis, Lisa Basso, Noel Blake, Jill Salo, Troy C. Lund, R. Scott McIvor, Paul J. Orchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Cytosine deaminase (CD) converts 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to the toxic metabolite 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and has been investigated extensively as a potential tool for selective cellular eradication. In this paper, genetic constructs were designed to express the CD enzyme fused to the transmembrane and extracellular domains of the human nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR), thus allowing for positive identification of transduced cells by flow cytometry and positive selection by magnetic bead technology. Constructs were designed to encode a [Gly4Ser]2 flexible linker between the nucleic acid coding sequences for the NGFR and CD genes. Retroviral vectors constructed with wild-type CD and NG/CD fusion genes were used to transduce 3T3 fibroblasts and the human T cell line CEM. The function of CD fusion genes was comparable to that of wild-type genes as determined in cytotoxicity assays. By flow cytometry, the NGFR antigen was detectable after expression of the fusion gene derived from either Escherichia coli (NG/CDe) or Saccharomyces cerevisiae (NG/CDs), but the greatest antigen density was observed in cells transduced with the NG/CDs vector. Similarly, superior 5-FC sensitivity was observed with NG/CDs fusion gene in both murine fibroblasts and human T cells. In addition, CEM cells expressing NG/CDs were more efficiently eliminated in vivo. Engineering of cells utilizing the chimeric NG/CD genes provides a new modality in gene therapy allowing positive and negative selection using a single protein-coding sequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1009-1016
Number of pages8
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


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