Abstract

Background: Hypusine is a unique amino acid present in all eukaryotes but found in only one highly conserved protein, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A. It is formed during a two-step post-translational modification of eIF5A. eIF5A has been identified as a critical factor for cell proliferation in yeast, as a modulator of p53, and recent studies indicate that the unhypusinated form of eIF5A is a pro-apoptotic protein. Because myeloma remains incurable, we hypothesized that induction of apoptosis by modulation of eIF5A may be a useful therapeutic approach. In this study we utilized PEI nanoparticles to deliver plasmid DNA and siRNA to myeloma tumor cells in vitro and in vivo.

Methods: An siRNA was used to suppress levels of endogenous hypusinated eIF5A in tumors while an RNAi-resistant plasmid expressing a mutant of eIF5A (eIF5AK50R), that cannot be hypusinated, was used to increase levels of unhypusinated eIF5A which is proapoptotic. In vitro, KAS-6/1 myeloma cells were incubated with control siRNA/control plasmid, eIF5A siRNA alone, or eIF5A siRNA/eIF5AK50R for 72 hours in the presence or absence of IL-6. Apoptosis was quantitated using flow cytometry to detect annexin V/propidium iodide stained cells; results were corrected for percent apoptosis of the mock control to enable comparison between experiments. In vivo, SCID mice (3/group) were injected with 10 million KAS-6/1 cells SQ in the right flank and approximately 6 weeks later injected intratumorally twice weekly as follows: Group 1 control mice received 20 μg empty vector and 10 μg control siRNA. Group 2 received 20 μg eIF5AK50R plasmid and 10 μg control siRNA. Group 3 received 20 μg eIF5AK50R plasmid and 10 μg eIF5A siRNA. Tumor volumes were quantitated in mm3 using a2b/2 where a is the smaller dimension.

Results: The in vitro results showed the following % apoptosis: Absence of IL-6 - Control: 6.5%, eIF5A siRNA/eIF5AK50R 30.3%. Presence of IL-6–Control:8.2%; eIF5A siRNA alone 36.5%; eIF5A siRNA/eIF5AK50R 45.2%. Western analysis demonstrated that the siRNA successfully inhibited the production of endogenous eIF5A. In vivo, after 24 days of monitoring tumor volume: group 1 mice showed that the KAS-6/1 cells grew from a mean tumor volume of 7±1 up to 102±16 mm3; tumors in group 2 mice remained relatively stable in size from 21±9 to 26±10 mm3. Group 3 mice showed a mean 92% tumor regression from 99±21 down to 7±1 mm3.

Conclusions: Delivery of eIF5A siRNA and eIF5AK50R plasmid by PEI nanoparticles results in significant anti-tumoral reponses in vitro and in vivo. These studies may provide a novel therapy for myeloma patients with end stage disease that have failed standard treatments.

Disclosures: Lust:Senesco: Research Funding. Thompson:Senesco: Membership on an entity’s Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Dondero:Senesco: Employment. Donovan:Senesco: Research Funding.

Author notes

Corresponding author