Research Papers:

Combined genetic and epigenetic interferences with interferon signaling expose prostate cancer cells to viral infection

Oded Danziger, Ben Shai, Yosef Sabo, Eran Bacharach and Marcelo Ehrlich _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:52115-52134. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10313

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Oded Danziger1,*, Ben Shai1,*, Yosef Sabo1, Eran Bacharach1, Marcelo Ehrlich1

1Department of Cell Research and Immunology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Marcelo Ehrlich, email: [email protected]

Eran Bacharach, email: [email protected]

Keywords: human metapneumovirus, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus, epigenetic silencing, interferon, prostate cancer cells

Received: March 21, 2016     Accepted: May 13, 2016     Published: June 28, 2016


Interferons (IFNs) induce anti-viral programs, regulate immune responses, and exert anti-proliferative effects. To escape anti-tumorigenic effects of IFNs, malignant cells attenuate JAK/STAT signaling and expression of IFN stimulated genes (ISGs). Such attenuation may enhance the susceptibility of tumor cells to oncolytic virotherapy. Here we studied genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of interference with JAK/STAT signaling and their contribution to susceptibility of prostate cancer cells to viral infection. Bioinformatics analysis of gene-expression in cohorts of prostate cancer patients revealed genetic and epigenetic interference with the IFN program. To correlate lack of IFN signaling and susceptibility to viral infection and oncolysis; we employed LNCaP prostate cancer cells as cellular model, and the human metapneumovirus and the epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus as infectious agents. In LNCaP cells, JAK1 is silenced by bi-allelic inactivating mutations and epigenetic silencing, which also silences ISGs. Chemical inhibition of epigenetic silencing partially restored IFN-sensitivity, induced low levels of expression of selected ISGs and attenuated, but failed to block, viral infection and oncolysis. Since viral infection was not blocked by epigenetic modifiers, and these compounds may independently-induce anti-tumor effects, we propose that epigenetic modifiers and virotherapy are compatible in treatment of prostate tumors defective in JAK1 expression and IFN signaling.

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