Tumor cells are able to evade cytotoxic therapies through the accumulation of genomic mutations and rapid evolution. In the case of oncolytic virotherapy, understanding the mechanisms by which cancer cells develop resistance to infection and lysis is critical to the development of more effective viral-based platforms. Here, we identify APOBEC3 as an important factor involved in the restriction of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). We show that VSV infection of B16 murine melanoma cells upregulated APOBEC3 in an IFNβ-dependent manner, which was responsible for the evolution of virus-resistanT-cell populations and suggested that APOBEC3 expression promoted the acquisition of a virus-resistant phenotype. ShRNA knockdown of APOBEC3 in B16 cells diminished their capacity to develop resistance to VSV infection in vitro, and enhanced the therapeutic effect of VSV in vivo. Similarly, overexpression of human APOBEC3B promoted the acquisition of resistance to oncolytic VSV in murine melanoma and glioblastoma lines, as well as in a human melanoma cell line in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we demonstrate that progeny virus obtained after passage through APOBEC3B overexpressing cells contained more defective interfering particles, thereby indicating that APOBEC3B directly affected the fitness of VSV, an RNA virus that has not previously been identified to be restricted by APOBEC3B. This research identifies APOBEC3 enzymes as key players to target in order to improve the efficacy of oncolytic viruses as well as broader nucleic acid-based therapeutic platforms.

Citation Format: Amanda L. Huff, Phonphimon Wongthida, Timothy Kottke, Jill Thompson, Christopher B. Driscoll, Matthew Schuelke, Kevin G. Shim, Reuben S. Harris, Amy Molan, Jose S. Pulido, Peter J. Selby, Kevin J. Harrington, Alan Melcher, Laura Evgin, Richard Vile. APOBEC3 confers resistance to oncolytic VSV therapy [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Fourth CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science into Survival; Sept 30-Oct 3, 2018; New York, NY. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2019;7(2 Suppl):Abstract nr A133.