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Sustained Analgesic Peptide Secretion and Cell Labeling Using a Novel Genetic Modification

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Cell-based therapy for neuropathic pain could provide analgesics to local pain modulatory regions in a sustained, renewable fashion. In order to provide enhanced analgesic efficacy, transplantable cells may be engineered to produce complementary or increased levels of analgesic peptides. In addition, genetic labeling of modified cells is desirable for identification and tracking, but it should be retained intracellularly as desired analgesic peptides are secreted. Usually constructs encode proteins destined for either extra- or intracellular compartments, as these pathways do not cross. However, interactions between intracellular destinations provide a window of opportunity to overcome this limitation. In this report, we have explored this approach using a potential supplementary analgesic peptide, [Ser1]-histogranin (SHG), the stable synthetic derivative of a naturally occurring peptide with N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonistic properties. A synthetic SHG gene was combined with (i) nerve growth factor- (NGF-) amino-terminal signal peptide to enable secretion, and (ii) a fluorescent cellular label (mRFP) with intervening cathepsin L cleavage site, and subcloned into a lentiviral vector. In addition, an endoplasmic retention signal, KDEL, was added to enable retrieval of mRFP. Using immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopic profile analysis, cells transduced by such lentiviruses were shown to synthesize a single SHG-mRFP polypeptide that was processed, targeted to expected subcellular destinations in several cell types. Dot blot and Western analysis revealed stable transduction and long-term secretion of SHG from PC12 cells in vitro. Transplantation of such cells provided modest analgesia in a rodent pain model consistent with low levels of SHG peptide in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These results suggest that it is possible to deliver proteins with different final destinations from a single construct, such as pharmacologically active peptide for secretion and intracellular label for identifying transplantable cells.

Keywords: Histogranin; Lentiviral; NMDA antagonist; PC12 cells; Pain; Transplantation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA 2: Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.
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