Retargeting oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus to human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1-associated adult T-cell leukemia

Dillon Betancourt, Juan Carlos Ramos, Glen N. Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Adult T cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) is an aggressive cancer of CD4/CD25+ T lymphocytes, the etiological agent of which is human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). ATL is highly refractory to current therapies, making the development of new treatments a high priority. Oncolytic viruses such as vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) are being considered as anticancer agents since they readily infect transformed cells compared to normal cells, the former appearing to exhibit defective innate immune responses. Here, we have evaluated the efficacy and safety of a recombinant VSV that has been retargeted to specifically infect and replicate in transformed CD4+ cells. This was achieved by replacing the single VSV glycoprotein (G) with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp160 to create a hybrid fusion protein, gp160G. The resultant virus, VSV-gp160G, was found to only target cells expressing CD4 and retained robust oncolytic activity against HTLV-1 actuated ATL cells. VSV-gp160G was further noted to be highly attenuated and did not replicate efficiently in or induce significant cell death of primary CD4+ T cells. Accordingly, VSV-gp160G did not elicit any evidence of neurotoxicity even in severely immunocompromised animals such as NOD/Shi-scid, IL-2Rγ-c-null (NSG) mice. Importantly, VSV-gp160G effectively exerted potent oncolytic activity in patientderived ATL transplanted into NSG mice and facilitated a significant survival benefit. Our data indicate that VSV-gp160G exerts potent oncolytic efficacy against CD4+ malignant cells and either alone or in conjunction with established therapies may provide an effective treatment in patients displaying ATL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11786-11800
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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