Myxoma virus (MYXV) and vaccinia virus (VACV), two distinct members of the family Poxviridae, are both currently being developed as oncolytic virotherapeutic agents. Recent studies have demonstrated that ex vivo treatment with MYXV can selectively recognize and kill contaminating cancerous cells from autologous bone marrow transplants without perturbing the engraftment of normal CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. However, the mechanism(s) by which MYXV specifically recognizes and eliminates the cancer cells in the autografts is not understood. While little is known about the cellular attachment factor(s) exploited by MYXV for entry into any target cells, VACV has been shown to utilize cell surface glycosaminoglycans such as heparan sulfate (HS), the extracellular matrix protein laminin, and/or integrin β1. We have constructed MYXV and VACV virions tagged with the Venus fluorescent protein and compared their characteristics of binding to various human cancer cell lines as well as to primary human leukocytes. We report that the binding of MYXV or VACV to some adherent cell lines could be partially inhibited by heparin, but laminin blocked only VACV binding. In contrast to cultured fibroblasts, the binding of MYXV and VACV to a wide spectrum of primary human leukocytes could not be competed by either HS or laminin. Additionally, MYXV and VACV exhibited very different binding characteristics against certain select human leukocytes, suggesting that the two poxviruses utilize different cell surface determinants for the attachment to these cells. These results indicate that VACV and MYXV can exhibit very different oncolytic tropisms against some cancerous human leukocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science