Cationic liposome-mediated delivery of reovirus enhances the tumor cell-killing efficiencies of reovirus in reovirus-resistant tumor cells
Reovirus induces tumor cell death efficiently and specifically, and thus is currently undergoing clinical testing as an anticancer agent. In the intracellular trafficking of reovirus, proteolytic disassembly of reovirus capsid-proteins and subsequent penetration of viral particles into the cytosol are crucial steps. Cathepsins B and L are largely responsible for the proteolytic disassembly of reovirus. Reovirus efficiently lyses tumor cells exhibiting relatively high activities of cathepsins B and L, while tumor cells with low activities of cathepsins B and L are often refractory to reovirus, probably due to inefficient endo/lysosomal escape. In this study, in order to enhance the tumor cell-killing efficiencies of reovirus by promoting endo/lysosomal escape, especially in reovirus-resistant tumor cells, reovirus was complexed with a cationic liposome transfection reagent. Reovirus alone and reovirus-cationic liposome complex (reoplex) exhibited similar levels of tumor cell-killing efficiencies in reovirus-susceptible tumor cells, while reoplex mediated more than 30% higher levels of tumor cell-killing activities in reovirus-resistant tumor cells than reovirus alone. Reoplex-mediated tumor cell death was efficiently induced in the tumor cells pretreated with cathepsin inhibitors. The mRNA levels of interferon (IFN)-β and apoptotic genes were significantly elevated following reoplex treatment. These results suggest that cationic liposomes efficiently promoted delivery of reovirus to the cytosol, leading to induction of apoptosis.