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Title: Investigation of the effects of virus integration on host gene expression in mouse tumour samples
Author: Osejindu, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2725 6532
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2011
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Clonally derived liver tumours and an ovarian cyst developed in mice following EIAV and FIV delivery in utero. LAM PCR and 454 sequencing was used to retrieve proviral insertion sites. TaqMan analysis revealed gene expression changes in lentiviral infected tumours. STRING and IPA networks identified links between genes flanking the lentivirus provirus and oncogenic pathways supporting the role of insertional mutagenesis in Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Global methylation analysis demonstrated increased relative methylation levels in lentivirus (EIAV, FIV, and HIV) infected normal and tumour samples. This provided strong evidence for host defence against lentivirus infection by epigenetic means. Microarray data showed altered expression of Dnmt1 and Dnmt3b and TaqMan analysis revealed specific changes in Dnmts levels when compared to uninfected liver. The evidence found for involvement of DNA methylation associated with lentivirus infection and possibly tumour development required that this study be repeated in vitro. DNA methylation was investigated at early time points after lentivirus and retrovirus infection in HepG2 cells. Results revealed sharp increases in global methylation and Dnmt levels at 24 and 30hrs post infection. E2F targets play a key role in the regulation of gene expression and aberrations result in the development of cancer. Of the 94 E2F target genes analysed 77.7% were involved in DNA damage and repair mechanisms, 21.3% were known oncogenes or shown to exert oncogenic activity and 80.9% were categorised as HCC target genes. The fact that all lentiviral/retroviral vectors used in this study were found to cause changes in methylation and gene expression in vivo and in vitro suggests that these vectors, at least in the mouse, are genotoxic. Findings here support the use of the fetal animal model to identify vector genotoxicity and the mechanisms of lentiviral vector-induced tumorigenesis. This model may be a valuable tool to evaluate the safety of lentiviruses for gene therapy.
Supervisor: Themis, M. ; Anderson, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Lentiviruses ; Gene therapy ; Retroviruses ; Gene expression ; Methylation