Purpose: Many viruses have evolved mechanisms to evade detection by the host immune system. The herpes simplex gene ICP47 encodes a protein that binds to the host antigen-processing transporter, inhibiting the formation of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) antigens in infected cells. MHC-I antigen expression is also important in acute allograft rejection. This study was designed to quantitate the effect of adenoviral-mediated gene transfer of ICP47 on MHC-I cell surface expression of human vascular cells. We hypothesized that the transduction of vascular cells with a replication- incompetent adenoviral vector that was expressing ICP47 (AdICP47) would inhibit constitutive and inducible MHC-I expression and thereby reduce the rate of cytolysis of ICP47-transduced vascular cells by sensitized cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Methods: A replication-incompetent adenoviral vector, AdICP47, was created to express ICP47 driven by the cytomegalovirus immediate early promoter. Cultured human vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells and human dermal fibroblasts were transduced with either AdICP47 or the control empty vector AddLE1. Cell surface constitutive and γ-interferon- induced MHC-I expression were quantitated by flow cytometry. A standard 4- hour chromium release cytotoxicity assay was used to determine the percent cytolysis of transduced and nontransduced endothelial cells by sensitized CTL. Finally, to quantitate the specificity of the effect of ICP47 on MHC-I expression, adhesion molecule expression was quantitated in both transduced and nontransduced cells. Results: Constitutive MHC-I expression in AdICP47- transduced endothelial cells was inhibited by a mean of 84% ± 5% (SEM) in five experiments. After 48 hours of exposure to γ-interferon, AdICP47- transduced cells exhibited a mean of 66% ± 8% lower MHC-I expression than nontransduced cells. Similar inhibition in MHC-I expression was achieved in AdICP47-transduced vascular smooth muscle cells and dermal fibroblasts. Percent cytolysis of AdICP47-transduced endothelial cells by CTL was reduced by 72%. Finally, the specificity of the effect of transduction of ICP47 on vascular cell MHC-I expression was confirmed by a lack of significant change in either constitutive or tumor necrosis factor-induced vascular cell adhesion molecule/intercellular adhesion molecule expression. Conclusion: Transduction of vascular cells with AdICP47 strongly inhibits both constitutive and inducible MHC-I expression in human vascular cells. AdICP47- transduced cells exhibited a substantial reduction in cytolysis by CTL. Thus AdICP47 transduction holds promise as a technique to characterize the role of MHC-I expression in acute vascular allograft rejection in vivo and as a potential therapeutic intervention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine