The Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology, University of Colorado・Associate Professor
TAT-MYC Recombinant Fusion Protein Enhances Hematopoietic Stem Cell Graft Performance and Immune Cell Reconstitution after Transplantation
The long interval between hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and hematopoietic engraftment and immune reconstitution is a dangerous time for patients. Although neutrophil counts usually rise within several weeks following stem cell transplantation, recovery of functional T and B cell repertoires can often take months; during this period patients are at risk for severe infections, and graft vs. tumor effects may be attenuated. We have examined the use of a recombinant fusion protein consisting of the N-terminal 9 amino acid segment of the HIV TAT protein transduction domain (PTD) fused to the MYC protein as a means of enhancing stem cell graft performance.
Following a 1-hour incubation of TBX-4000 with human cord blood cells, the chimeric protein appeared in the nucleus of target cells within 2 hours, but was rapidly metabolized, vanishing by 72 hours. Whole murine marrow and purified murine LSK+ cells that were incubated with TBX-4000 significantly out-performed control cells in competitive engraftment experiments in immune deficient recipient mice, even at ratios of 1:9 treated to control cells. Significantly higher numbers of T and B cells were recovered from both peripheral blood and splenic tissue of irradiated immune deficient mice transplanted with stem cell grafts that had been cultured for 60 minutes with TBX-4000, relative to control mice. Extensive toxicologic studies demonstrated that prolonged exposure to TBX-4000 does not cause malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells in culture, and does not lead to tumor formation in mice repeatedly injected with the recombinant protein.
Brief exposure to the TAT-MYC recombinant fusion protein enhances the performance of hematopoietic stem cells in a pre-clinical transplantation models. The efficacy and safety of TBX-4000 in our pre-clinical studies serve as the basis for currently planned clinical trials of this chimeric protein in patients undergoing stem cell transplantation.