BACKGROUND: Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is an oncolytic virus with excellent selectivity against cancer cells, both in vitro and in vivo. Unfortunately, prolonged in vitro NDV infection results in the development of persistent infection in the cancer cells which are then able to resist NDV-mediated oncolysis. However, the mechanism of persistency of infection remains poorly understood.
METHODS: In this study, we established persistently NDV-infected EJ28 bladder cancer cells, designated as EJ28P. Global transcriptomic analysis was subsequently carried out by microarray analysis. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between EJ28 and EJ28P cells identified by the edgeR program were further analysed by Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) analyses. In addition, the microarray data were validated by RT-qPCR.
RESULTS: Persistently NDV-infected EJ28 bladder cancer cells were successfully established and confirmed by flow cytometry. Microarray analysis identified a total of 368 genes as differentially expressed in EJ28P cells when compared to the non-infected EJ28 cells. GSEA revealed that the Wnt/β-catenin and KRAS signalling pathways were upregulated while the TGF-β signalling pathway was downregulated. Findings from this study suggest that the upregulation of genes that are associated with cell growth, pro-survival, and anti-apoptosis may explain the survivability of EJ28P cells and the development of persistent infection of NDV.
CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights into the transcriptomic changes that occur and the specific signalling pathways that are potentially involved in the development and maintenance of NDV persistency of infection in bladder cancer cells. These findings warrant further investigation and is crucial towards the development of effective NDV oncolytic therapy against cancer.