Published online Jan 15, 2004. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v10.i2.186
Revised: October 16, 2003
Accepted: October 23, 2003
Published online: January 15, 2004
AIM: To construct a recombinant adenoviral vector carrying AFP promoter and EGFP gene for specific expression of EGFP gene in AFP producing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) HepG2 cells.
METHODS: Based on the Adeno-XTM expression system, the human immediate early cytomegalovirus promoter (PCMV IE) was removed from the plasmid, pshuttle, and replaced by a 0.3 kb α-fetoprotein (AFP) promoter that was synthesized by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene was inserted into the multi-clone site (MCS), and then the recombinant adenovirus vector carrying the 0.3 kb AFP promoter and EGFP gene was constructed. Cells of a normal liver cell line (LO2), a hepatocarcinoma cell line (HepG2) and a cervical cancer cell line (HeLa) were transfected with the adenovirus. Northern blot and fluorescence microscopy were used to detect the expression of the EGFP gene at mRNA or protein level in three different cell lines.
RESULTS: The 0.3 kb AFP promoter was synthesized through PCR from the human genome. The AFP promoter and EGFP gene were directly inserted into the plasmid pshuttle as confirmed by restriction digestion and DNA sequencing. Northern blot showed that EGFP gene was markedly transcribed in HepG2 cells, but only slightly in LO2 and HeLa cells. In addition, strong green fluorescence was observed in HepG2 cells under a fluorescence microscopy, but fluorescence was very weak LO2 and HeLa cells.
CONCLUSION: Under control of the 0.3 kb human AFP promoter, the recombinant adenovirus vector carrying EGFP gene can be specially expressed in AFP-producing HepG2 cells. Therefore, this adenovirus system can be used as a novel, potent and specific tool for gene-targeting therapy for the AFP positive primary hepatocellular carcinoma.