Dual therapeutic utility of proteasome modulating agents for pharmaco-gene therapy of the cystic fibrosis airway

Liang N. Zhang, Phil Karp, Christopher J. Gerard, Eric Pastor, Douglas Laux, Keith Munson, Ziying Yan, Xiaoming Liu, Simon Godwin, Christie P. Thomas, Joseph Zabner, Huidong Shi, Charles W. Caldwell, Richard Peluso, Barrie Carter, John F. Engelhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Pharmacologic- and gene-based therapies have historically been developed as two independent therapeutic platforms for cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. Inhibition of the dysregulated epithelial Na channel (ENaC) is one pharmacologic approach to enhance airway clearance in CF. We investigated pharmacologic approaches to enhance CFTR gene delivery with recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) and identified compounds that significantly improved viral transduction while simultaneously inhibiting ENaC activity through an unrelated mechanism. Treatment of human CF airway epithelia with proteasome modulating agents (LLnL and doxorubicin) at the time of rAAV2 or rAAV2/5 infection dramatically enhanced CFTR gene delivery and correction of CFTR-mediated short-circuit currents. Surprisingly, these agents also facilitated long-term (15-day) functional inhibition of ENaC currents independent of CFTR vector administration. Inhibition of ENaC activity was predominantly attributed to a doxorubicin-dependent decrease in γ-ENaC subunit mRNA expression and an increase in γ-ENaC promoter methylation. This is the first report to describe the identification of compounds with dual therapeutic action that are able to enhance the efficacy of CFTR gene therapy to the airway while simultaneously ameliorating primary aspects of CF disease pathophysiology. The identification of such compounds mark a new area for drug development, not only for CF, but also for other gene therapy disease targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-1002
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • AAV
  • Adeno-associated virus
  • CFTR
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • ENaC
  • Gene therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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