A. G. McCluskey, R. J. Mairs, A. Sorensen, T. Robson, H. O. McCarthy, S. L. Pimlott, J. W. Babich, S. Champion, M. Boyd


1938-5404 (Electronic)0033-7587 (Linking)

Publication year



Radiat Res

Periodical Number






Author Address

Experimental Targeted Radiation Therapeutics Group, Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Full version

The use of radiation-inducible promoters to drive transgene expression offers the possibility of temporal and spatial regulation of gene activation. This study assessed the potential of one such promoter element, p21(WAF1/CIP1) (WAF1), to drive expression of the noradrenaline transporter (NAT) gene, which conveys sensitivity to radioiodinated meta-iodobenzylguanidine (MIBG). An expression vector containing NAT under the control of the radiation-inducible WAF1 promoter (pWAF/NAT) was produced. The non-NAT expressing cell lines UVW (glioma) and HCT116 (colorectal cancer) were transfected with this construct to assess radiation-controlled WAF1 activation of the NAT gene. Transfection of UVW and HCT cells with pWAF/NAT conferred upon them the ability to accumulate [(131)I]MIBG, which led to increased sensitivity to the radiopharmaceutical. Pretreatment of transfected cells with gamma radiation or the radiopharmaceuticals [(123)I]MIBG or [(131)I]MIBG induced dose- and time-dependent increases in subsequent [(131)I]MIBG uptake and led to enhanced efficacy of [(131)I]MIBG-mediated cell kill. Gene therapy using WAF1-driven expression of NAT has the potential to expand the use of this therapeutic modality to tumors that lack a radio-targetable feature.