Oncolytic specificity of newcastle disease virus is mediated by selectivity for apoptosis-resistant cells

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Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is a negative-sense RNA virus that has been shown to possess oncolytic activity. NDV's selective replication in tumor cells has been previously suggested to be due to the lack of a proper antiviral response in these cells. Here we demonstrate that NDV possesses oncolytic activity in tumor cells capable of a robust type I interferon (IFN) response, suggesting that another mechanism underlies NDV's tumor specificity. We show that the oncolytic selectivity of NDV for tumor cells is dependent upon tumor cell resistance to apoptosis. Utilizing the human non-small-cell lung cancer cell line A549 overexpressing the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-xL, we show significant enhancement of oncolytic activity and NDV replication. Interestingly, while the Bcl-xL-overexpressing cells were resistant to apoptotic stimuli induced by chemotherapeutic agents and early viral replication, during the subsequent viral cycles, we observed a paradoxical increase in apoptosis in response to NDV. The increased oncolytic activity seen was secondary to enhanced viral replication and syncytium formation. The induction of a type I IFN response was enhanced in Bcl-xL cells. Overall, these findings propose a new mechanism for cancer cell specificity for NDV, making it an attractive anticancer agent for chemoresistant tumors with enhanced antiapoptotic activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6015-6023
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2011


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