A Human Melanoma Cell Line Transduced with an Interleukin-4 Gene by a Retroviral Vector Releases Biologically Active IL-4 and Maintains the Original Tumor Antigenic Phenotype

Cecilia Melani, Josep Sulé-Suso, Flavio Arienti, Cristina Maccalli, Flavio Passerini, Mario P. Colombo, Giorgio Parmiani

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental models of vaccination with tumor cells engineered to produce interleukin-4 (IL-4) have shown that the local release of this cytokine is associated with the development of antitumor immunity that may induce regression of established cancer. The aim of this study was to transduce a human melanoma cell line with the gene coding for human IL-4, and to analyze cytokine production, phenotypic characteristics, and antigen expression after transduction. A retroviral vector, constructed by inserting IL-4 cDNA into the LXSN vector, was used to infect the human melanoma cell line Me14932, known to express the MHC class I HLA-A2 and the melanoma-associated antigen Melan-A/MART-1, recognized by HLA-A2-restricted T-cells. The confluence of all G418-resistant cells (Me14932/IL-4) was then analyzed for proviral integration and IL-4 mRNA expression. Substantially stable IL-4 release was detected by ELISA in the supernatant of transduced cells, ranging from 1.6 to 4.6 ng/ml per 105 cells per 24 hr; such a cytokine displayed a specific biologic activity, as revealed by the stimulation of blast cell proliferation and the inhibition of lymphokine activated killer cell (LAK) induction by IL-2. After 200 Gy irradiation, IL-4 release remained detectable for 5 weeks, whereas cell proliferation ceased within 7 days. Morphology and immunophenotypic characteristics of the parental cell line (expression of MHC classes I and II, ICAM-1, LFA 3, melanoma-associated antigens, etc.) were retained by the IL-4 gene-transduced melanoma as assayed by microscopy and immunofluorescence; likewise, susceptibility to lysis by LAK cells as well as a T-cell clone recognizing the Melan-A/MART-1 antigen did not change. These results, together with the lack of replication-competent retrovirus, suggest that the Me14932/IL-4 cell line displays suitable characteristics for its use in the treatment of HLA-matched melanoma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1427-1436
Number of pages10
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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