Identification of host range mutants of myxoma virus with altered oncolytic potential in human glioma cells

John W. Barrett, Lindsay R. Alston, Fuan Wang, Marianne M. Stanford, Philippe Alexandre Gilbert, Xiujuan Gao, June Jimenez, Danielle Villeneuve, Peter Forsyth, Grant McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The authors have recently demonstrated that wild-type myxoma virus (MV) tagged with gfp (vMyxgfp) can generate a tumor-specific infection that productively infects and clears human tumor-derived xenografts when injected intratumorly into human gliomas transplanted into immunodeficient mice (Lun et al, 2005). To expand the understanding of MV tropism in cancer cells from a specific tissue lineage, the authors have screened a series of human glioma cells (U87, U118, U251, U343, U373) for myxoma virus replication and oncolysis. To assess the viral tropism determinants for these infections, the authors have screened myxoma virus knockout constructs that have been deleted for specific host range genes (M-T2, M-T4, M-T5, M11L, and M063), as well as a control MV gene knockout construct with no known host range function (vMyx135KO) but is highly attenuated in rabbits. The authors report wide variation in the ability of various vMyx-hrKOs to replicate and spread in the human glioma cells as measured by early and late viral gene expression. This differential ability to support vMyx-hrKO productive viral replication is consistent with levels of endogenous activated Akt in the various gliomas. The authors have identified one vMyx-hrKO virus (vMyx63KO) and one nonhost range knockout construct (vMyx135KO) that appear to replicate in the gliomas even more efficiently than the wild-type virus and that reduce the viability of the infected gliomas. These knockout viruses also inhibit the proliferation of gliomas in a manner similar to the wild-type virus. Together these data, as well as the fact that these knockout viruses are attenuated in their natural hosts, may represent environmentally safer candidate oncolytic viruses for usage in human trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-560
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of NeuroVirology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Glioblastoma
  • Host range
  • Poxvirus
  • Tropism
  • Virotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


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