PSMA-homing dsRNA chimeric protein vector kills prostate cancer cells and activates anti-tumor bystander responses

Yael Langut, Nufar Edinger, Efrat Flashner-Abramson, Naomi Melamed-Book, Mario Lebendiker, Yael Levi-Kalisman, Shoshana Klein, Alexander Levitzki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The treatment of metastatic androgen-resistant prostate cancer remains a challenge. We describe a protein vector that selectively delivers synthetic dsRNA, polyinosinic/polycytidylic acid (polyIC), to prostate tumors by targeting prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is overexpressed on the surface of prostate cancer cells. The chimeric protein is built from the double stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding domain of PKR tethered to a single chain anti-PSMA antibody. When complexed with polyIC, the chimera demonstrates selective and efficient killing of prostate cancer cells. The treatment causes the targeted cancer cells to undergo apoptosis and to secrete toxic cytokines. In a "bystander effect", these cytokines kill neighboring cancer cells that do not necessarily overexpress PSMA, and activate immune cells that enhance the killing effect. The strong effects of the targeted polyIC are demonstrated on both 2D cell cultures and 3D tumor spheroids.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)24046-24062
Number of pages17
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the technical assistance of Orit Berhani and Aviva Petcho, and thank Prof. Michel Sadelain for the gift of the plasmid encoding the single chain antibody. ISF grant no. 1556/13 (A. Levitzki), ERC Advanced Grant No. 249898 (A. Levitzki).


  • DsRNA binding domain
  • PSMA
  • PolyIC
  • ScFvJ591


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