, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 31–38

Targeting diphtheria toxin A-chain transcription to activated endothelial cells using an E-selectin promoter


    • Department of Dermatology and Cancer CenterUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  • Cortina Kaletta
    • Munich Biotech AG
  • Kurt Naujoks
    • Munich Biotech AG
  • Françoise Maxwell
    • Department of Dermatology and Cancer CenterUniversity of Colorado Health Sciences Center

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025894616613

Cite this article as:
Maxwell, I.H., Kaletta, C., Naujoks, K. et al. Angiogenesis (2003) 6: 31. doi:10.1023/A:1025894616613


Targeting the transcription of a toxin gene to activated endothelial cells might be used for inhibiting angiogenesis in solid tumors. As a model, we transiently transfected human endothelial cells (HUVEC) in culture with expression plasmids for the toxic A-chain of diphtheria toxin (DT-A), using electroporation (achieving ≈70% transfection efficiency). Protein synthesis in HUVEC was highly sensitive to DT-A expression from constitutive viral promoters. E-selectin is strongly expressed on HUVEC activated by TNFα or TPA. We therefore tested a human E-selectin promoter (−547 to +33) for targeting transcription of DT-A or reporter genes to HUVEC. Luciferase reporters were efficiently expressed in HUVEC from this promoter, with or without an enhancer responsive to Ets-1. Expression was increased by TNFα or TPA. DT-A showed highly preferential expression (increased by TNFα or TPA) in HUVEC, compared with WI38 human fibroblasts. HUVEC expressing DT-A were killed via apoptosis. Overall expression levels were influenced by alternative ‘backbone’ sequences used in the expression plasmids. We propose that delivery of transcriptionally regulated expression plasmids for DT-A in vivo, using cationic lipids that show preferential accumulation in activated or proliferating endothelium, may offer a novel means of inhibiting undesired angiogenesis.

diphtheria toxinendothelial cellsE-selectin promotertranscription
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003