Gamma irradiation and targeted radionuclides enhance the expression of the noradrenaline transporter transgene controlled by the radio-inducible p21WAF1/CIP1 promoter

Anthony G McCluskey, Robert J Mairs, Annette Sorensen, Tracy Robson, Helen O McCarthy, Sally L Pimlott, John W Babich, Sue Champion, Marie Boyd

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3 Citations (Scopus)


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), 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 [I]MIBG, which led to increased sensitivity to the radiopharmaceutical. Pretreatment of transfected cells with γ radiation or the radiopharmaceuticals [I]MIBG or [I]MIBG induced dose- and time-dependent increases in subsequent [I]MIBG uptake and led to enhanced efficacy of [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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-292
Number of pages11
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • spatial regulation
  • gene activation
  • radiation-inducible promoter
  • radiopharmaceuticals

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