Expression of Oncolytic Adenovirus-Encoded RNAi Molecules Is Most Effective in a pri-miRNA Precursor Format

T Brachtlová, Jan-Willem van Ginkel, MJ Luinenburg, Renee X de Menezes, D Koppers-Lalic, DM Pegtel, Wenliang Dong, TD de Gruijl, VW van Beusechem

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Oncolytic adenoviruses are being developed as new anti-cancer agents. Their efficacy can be improved by incorporating RNA interference (RNAi) molecules. RNAi molecules can be expressed in various precursor formats. The aim of this study was to determine the most effective format. To this end, we constructed three Δ24-type oncolytic adenoviruses, with human microRNA-1 (miR-1) expression cassettes in short hairpin RNA (shRNA), precursor microRNA (pre-miRNA), and primary miRNA (pri-miRNA) format, respectively. The viruses were compared for virus replication, mature miR-1 expression, and target gene silencing in cancer cells. Incorporation of the cassettes had only minor effects on virus replication. Mature miR-1 expression from the pri-miRNA format reached on average 100-fold higher levels than from the other two formats. This expression remained stable upon long-term virus propagation. Infection with the pri-miR-1-expressing virus silenced the validated miR-1 targets FOXP1 and MET. Drosha knockout almost completely abrogated mature miR-1 expression, confirming that processing of adenovirus-encoded pri-miR-1 was dependent on the host cell miRNA machinery. Using simple in vitro recombination cloning, a similar virus expressing miR-26b was made and shown to silence the validated miR-26b target PTGS2. We thus provide a platform for construction of oncolytic adenoviruses with high expression of RNAi molecules of choice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-343
Number of pages12
JournalMol Ther Oncolytics
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020


  • gene knockdown
  • gene silencing
  • oncolytic immunotherapy
  • oncolytic virus

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