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Autonomous Cell Migration to CSF1 Sources via a Synthetic Protein-Based System

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-08, 00:00 authored by Anam Qudrat, Kevin Truong
Inflammatory lesions, often seen in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis and cancer, feature an acidic (i.e., low pH) microenvironment rampant with cytokines, such as CSF1. For potential therapeutic intervention targeted at these CSF1 sources, we have assembled a system of four proteins inside a cell (i.e., HEK293) that initially had no natural CSF1-seeking ability. This system included a newly engineered CSF1 chimera receptor (named CSF1Rchi), the previously engineered Ca2+ activated RhoA (i.e., CaRQ), vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein G (VSVG) and thymidine kinase (TK). The binding of CSF1 to the CSF1Rchi generated a Ca2+ signal that activated CaRQ-mediated cellular blebbing, allowing autonomous cell migration toward the CSF1 source. Next, the VSVG protein allowed these engineered cells to fuse with the CSF1 source cells, upon low pH induction. Finally, these cells underwent death postganciclovir treatment, via the TK suicide mechanism. Hence, this protein system could potentially serve as the basis of engineering a cell to target inflammatory lesions in diseases featuring a microenvironment with high levels of CSF1 and low pH.