Ram Prasad Aganja, Chandran Sivasankar, John Hwa Lee
Department of Veterinary Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Jeonbuk National University, Iksan 54596, South Korea
Corresponding author : John Hwa Lee
Introduction: The limitations of conventional cancer therapies necessitate target-oriented, highly invasive, and safe treatment approaches. Hence, the intrinsic anti-tumor activity of Salmonella can offer better options to combat cancers.
Objectives: This study aims to utilize attenuated Salmonella and deliver cytolytic protein cytolysin A (ClyA) under quorum sensing (QS) signaling for precise localized expression in tumors but not in healthy organs.
Methods: The therapeutic delivery strain was imposed with tryptophan auxotroph for selective colonization in tumors by trpA and trpE deletion, and lipid-A and O-antigen were altered by pagL and rfaL deletions using lambda red recombination method. The strain was transformed with the designed QS-controlled ClyA expression vector which was validated by western blot. The in vivo passaged therapeutic strain was used for treatment four times at a weekly interval, with a dose of 5 × 106 CFU/mouse for cancer therapy.
Results: The attenuated strain induced minimal endotoxicity-related cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, and IFN-γ and exhibited adequate colonization despite earlier exposure in mice. The QS-controlled ClyA expression was confirmed by western blot from bacterial cultures grown at different cell densities. The results demonstrated that the in vivo passaged strain preferentially colonized the tumor after vacating the spleen, liver, and lung, leaving no outward histological scars. The anti-cancer effect of the designed construct was evaluated in the murine CT26 colon cancer model. The expression of ClyA increased tumoricidal activity by 67 % compared to vector control.
Conclusion: Hence, the anti-tumor effect of the engineered Salmonella strain was improved by ClyA expression via QS activation after achieving the threshold bacterial cell density. Further, immunohistochemical staining of the tumor and other organs corroborated the QS-controlled tumor-specific expression of ClyA. Overall, the results imply that the developed anti-cancer Salmonella has low endotoxicity and QS-controlled expression of ClyA as beneficial safety elements and supports recurrent Salmonella inoculation by O-antigen deficiency.