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1.  An improved and robust DNA immunization method to develop antibodies against extra-cellular loops of multi-transmembrane proteins 
mAbs  2013;6(1):95-107.
Multi-transmembrane proteins are especially difficult targets for antibody generation largely due to the challenge of producing a protein that maintains its native conformation in the absence of a stabilizing membrane. Here, we describe an immunization strategy that successfully resulted in the identification of monoclonal antibodies that bind specifically to extracellular epitopes of a 12 transmembrane protein, multi-drug resistant protein 4 (MRP4). These monoclonal antibodies were developed following hydrodynamic tail vein immunization with a cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter-based plasmid expressing MRP4 cDNA and were characterized by flow cytometry. As expected, the use of the immune modulators fetal liver tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (Flt3L) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor positively enhanced the immune response against MRP4. Imaging studies using CMV-based plasmids expressing luciferase showed that the in vivo half-life of the target antigen was less than 48 h using CMV-based plasmids, thus necessitating frequent boosting with DNA to achieve an adequate immune response. We also describe a comparison of plasmids, which contained MRP4 cDNA with either the CMV or CAG promoters, used for immunizations. The observed luciferase activity in this comparison demonstrated that the CAG promoter-containing plasmid pCAGGS induced prolonged constitutive expression of MRP4 and an increased anti-MRP4 specific immune response even when the plasmid was injected less frequently. The method described here is one that can be broadly applicable as a general immunization strategy to develop antibodies against multi-transmembrane proteins, as well as target antigens that are difficult to express or purify in native and functionally active conformation.
PMCID: PMC3929459  PMID: 24121517
monoclonal antibody; DNA immunization; multi-transmembrane proteins; MRP4
2.  Enhancement of anti-tumor CD8 immunity by IgG1-mediated targeting of Fc receptors 
mAbs  2013;6(1):108-118.
Dendritic cells (DCs) function as professional antigen presenting cells and are critical for linking innate immune responses to the induction of adaptive immunity. Many current cancer DC vaccine strategies rely on differentiating DCs, feeding them tumor antigens ex vivo, and infusing them into patients. Importantly, this strategy relies on prior knowledge of suitable “tumor-specific” antigens to prime an effective anti-tumor response. DCs express a variety of receptors specific for the Fc region of immunoglobulins, and antigen uptake via Fc receptors is highly efficient and facilitates antigen presentation to T cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that expression of the mouse IgG1 Fc region on the surface of tumors would enhance tumor cell uptake by DCs and other myeloid cells and promote the induction of anti-tumor T cell responses. To test this, we engineered a murine lymphoma cell line expressing surface IgG1 Fc and discovered that such tumor cells were taken up rapidly by DCs, leading to enhanced cross-presentation of tumor-derived antigen to CD8+ T cells. IgG1-Fc tumors failed to grow in vivo and prophylactic vaccination of mice with IgG1-Fc tumors resulted in rejection of unmanipulated tumor cells. Furthermore, IgG1-Fc tumor cells were able to slow the growth of an unmanipulated primary tumor when used as a therapeutic tumor vaccine. Our data demonstrate that engagement of Fc receptors by tumors expressing the Fc region of IgG1 is a viable strategy to induce efficient and protective anti-tumor CD8+ T cell responses without prior knowledge of tumor-specific antigens.
PMCID: PMC3929435  PMID: 24284965
Fc receptors; IgG1; dendritic cells; cross-presentation; CD8 T cell priming; cancer vaccine; MHC Class I
3.  Structural basis for the neutralization and specificity of Staphylococcal enterotoxin B against its MHC Class II binding site 
mAbs  2013;6(1):119-129.
Staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE) B is among the potent toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus that cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which can result in multi-organ failure and death. Currently, neutralizing antibodies have been shown to be effective immunotherapeutic agents against this toxin, but the structural basis of the neutralizing mechanism is still unknown. In this study, we generated a neutralizing monoclonal antibody, 3E2, against SEB, and analyzed the crystal structure of the SEB-3E2 Fab complex. Crystallographic analysis suggested that the neutralizing epitope overlapped with the MHC II molecule binding site on SEB, and thus 3E2 could inhibit SEB function by preventing interaction with the MHC II molecule. Mutagenesis studies were done on SEB, as well as the related Staphylococcus aureus toxins SEA and SEC. These studies revealed that tyrosine (Y)46 and lysine (K)71 residues of SEB are essential to specific antibody–antigen recognition and neutralization. Substitution of Y at SEA glutamine (Q)49, which corresponds to SEB Y46, increased both 3E2’s binding to SEA in vitro and the neutralization of SEA in vivo. These results suggested that SEB Y46 is responsible for distinguishing SEB from SEA. These findings may be helpful for the development of antibody-based therapy for SEB-induced TSS.
PMCID: PMC3929436  PMID: 24423621
Staphylococcus aureus; enterotoxin B; neutralizing antibody; crystal structure; mechanism
4.  The rapid generation of recombinant functional monoclonal antibodies from individual, antigen-specific bone marrow-derived plasma cells isolated using a novel fluorescence-based method 
mAbs  2013;6(1):143-159.
Single B cell technologies, which avoid traditional hybridoma fusion and combinatorial display, provide a means to interrogate the naturally-selected antibody repertoire of immunized animals. Many methods enable the sampling of memory B cell subsets, but few allow for the direct interrogation of the plasma cell repertoire, i.e., the subset of B cells responsible for producing immunoglobulin in serum. Here, we describe the use of a robust and simple fluorescence-based technique, called the fluorescent foci method, for the identification and isolation of antigen-specific IgG-secreting cells, such as plasma cells, from heterogeneous bone marrow preparations. Following micromanipulation of single cells, cognate pairs of heavy and light chain variable region genes were recovered by reverse transcription (RT)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). During the PCR, variable regions were combined with a promoter fragment and a relevant constant region fragment to produce two separate transcriptionally-active PCR (TAP) fragments that were directly co-transfected into a HEK-293F cell line for recombinant antibody expression. The technique was successfully applied to the generation of a diverse panel of high-affinity, functional recombinant antibodies to human tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor 2 and TNF derived from the bone marrow of immunized rabbits and rats, respectively. Progression from a bone marrow sample to a panel of functional recombinant antibodies was possible within a 2-week timeframe.
PMCID: PMC3929438  PMID: 24423622
monoclonal; antibody; fluorescent foci; TAP; PCR; plasma cell; bone marrow; IgG
5.  High-throughput glycosylation analysis of therapeutic immunoglobulin G by capillary gel electrophoresis using a DNA analyzer 
mAbs  2013;6(1):185-196.
The Fc glycosylation of therapeutic antibodies is crucial for their effector functions and their behavior in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. To monitor the Fc glycosylation in bioprocess development and characterization, high-throughput techniques for glycosylation analysis are needed. Here, we describe the development of a largely automated high-throughput glycosylation profiling method with multiplexing capillary-gel-electrophoresis (CGE) with laser induced fluorescence (LIF) detection using a DNA analyzer. After PNGaseF digestion, the released glycans were labeled with 9-aminopyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid (APTS) in 96-well plates, which was followed by the simultaneous analysis of up to 48 samples. The peak assignment was conducted by HILIC-UPLC-MS/MS of the APTS-labeled glycans combined with peak fractionation and subsequent CGE-LIF analysis of the MS-characterized fractions. Quantitative data evaluation of the various IgG glycans was performed automatically using an in-house developed software solution. The excellent method accuracy and repeatability of the test system was verified by comparison with two UPLC-based methods for glycan analysis. Finally, the practical value of the developed method was demonstrated by analyzing the antibody glycosylation profiles from fermentation broths after small scale protein A purification.
PMCID: PMC3929442  PMID: 24135630
monoclonal antibody (mAb); IgG glycosylation; automation; multiplexed capillary electrophoresis; DNA analyzer; HILIC-UPLC; APTS labeling; LC-MS
6.  Complex mixtures of antibodies generated from a single production qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated by native Orbitrap mass spectrometry 
mAbs  2013;6(1):197-203.
Composite antibody mixtures designed to combat diseases present a new, rapidly emerging technology in the field of biopharmaceuticals. The combination of multiple antibodies can lead to increased effector response and limit the effect of escape variants that can propagate the disease. However, parallel development of analytical technologies is required to provide fast, thorough, accurate, and robust characterization of these mixtures. Here, we evaluate the utility of native mass spectrometry on an Orbitrap platform with high mass resolving power to characterize composite mixtures of up to 15 separate antibodies. With this technique, unambiguous identification of each antibody in the mixtures was achieved. Mass measurements of the intact antibodies varied 7 ppm on average, allowing highly reproducible identification and quantitation of each compound in these complex mixtures. We show that with the high mass-resolving power and robustness of this technology, high-resolution native mass spectrometry can be used efficiently even for batch-to-batch characterization.
PMCID: PMC3929443  PMID: 24351421
native mass spectrometry; monoclonal antibody; composite mixtures; intact protein analysis; high resolution mass spectrometry
7.  Antibody VH and VL recombination using phage and ribosome display technologies reveals distinct structural routes to affinity improvements with VH-VL interface residues providing important structural diversity 
mAbs  2013;6(1):236-245.
In vitro selection technologies are an important means of affinity maturing antibodies to generate the optimal therapeutic profile for a particular disease target. Here, we describe the isolation of a parent antibody, KENB061 using phage display and solution phase selections with soluble biotinylated human IL-1R1. KENB061 was affinity matured using phage display and targeted mutagenesis of VH and VL CDR3 using NNS randomization. Affinity matured VHCDR3 and VLCDR3 library blocks were recombined and selected using phage and ribosome display protocol. A direct comparison of the phage and ribosome display antibodies generated was made to determine their functional characteristics.
PMCID: PMC3929446  PMID: 24256948
antibody; IL-1R1; ribosome display; phage display; mutagenesis; recombination
8.  Monoclonal anti-β1-adrenergic receptor antibodies activate G protein signaling in the absence of β-arrestin recruitment 
mAbs  2013;6(1):246-261.
Thermostabilized G protein-coupled receptors used as antigens for in vivo immunization have resulted in the generation of functional agonistic anti-β1-adrenergic (β1AR) receptor monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). The focus of this study was to examine the pharmacology of these antibodies to evaluate their mechanistic activity at β1AR. Immunization with the β1AR stabilized receptor yielded five stable hybridoma clones, four of which expressed functional IgG, as determined in cell-based assays used to evaluate cAMP stimulation. The antibodies bind diverse epitopes associated with low nanomolar agonist activity at β1AR, and they appeared to show some degree of biased signaling as they were inactive in an assay measuring signaling through β-arrestin. In vitro characterization also verified different antibody-receptor interactions reflecting the different epitopes on the extracellular surface of β1AR to which the mAbs bind. The anti-β1AR mAbs only demonstrated agonist activity when in dimeric antibody format, but not as the monomeric Fab format, suggesting that agonist activation may be mediated through promoting receptor dimerization. Finally, we have also shown that at least one of these antibodies exhibits in vivo functional activity at a therapeutically-relevant dose producing an increase in heart rate consistent with β1AR agonism.
PMCID: PMC3929447  PMID: 24253107
stabilized receptor; Beta 1 adrenergic receptor; GPCR; extracellular domain; extracellular loop; functional antibody; isoprenaline; propranolol
9.  Fine epitope specificity of antibodies against interleukin-2 explains their paradoxical immunomodulatory effects 
mAbs  2013;6(1):273-285.
The functional dichotomy of antibodies against interleukin-2 (IL-2) is thought to depend upon recognition of different cytokine epitopes. Beyond functional studies, the only molecular evidence obtained so far located the epitopes recognized by the immunoenhancing antibodies S4B6 and JES6–5H4 within the predicted interface of IL-2 with the α receptor subunit, explaining the preferential stimulation of effector cells displaying only β and γ receptor chains. A consistent functional map of the epitope bound by the immunoregulatory antibody JES6-1A12 has now been delineated by screening the interactions of phage-displayed antigen variants (with single and multiple mutations) and antigen mimotopes. The target determinant resides in a region between the predicted interfaces with α and β/γ receptor subunits, supporting the dual inhibitory role of the antibody on both interactions. Binding by JES6-1A12 would thus convert complexed IL-2 into a very weak agonist, reinforcing the advantage of T regulatory cells (displaying the high affinity αβγ heterotrimeric receptor) to capture the cytokine by competition and expand over effector cells, ultimately resulting in the observed strong tolerogenic effect of this antibody. Detailed knowledge of the epitopes recognized by anti-IL-2 antibodies with either immunoenhancing or immunoregulatory properties completes the molecular scenario underlying their use to boost or inhibit immune responses in multiple experimental systems. The expanded functional mapping platform now available could be exploited to study other interactions involving related molecular pairs with the final goal of optimizing cytokine and anti-cytokine therapies.
PMCID: PMC3929449  PMID: 24253188
cytokine; epitope mapping; immune complexes; interleukin-2 receptor; peptide library; phage display; site-directed mutagenesis
10.  A dual-targeting triplebody mediates preferential redirected lysis of antigen double-positive over single-positive leukemic cells 
mAbs  2013;6(1):286-296.
The single-chain triplebody HLA-ds16-hu19 consists of three single-chain Fv (scFv) antibody fragments connected in a single polypeptide chain. This protein with dual-targeting capacity mediated preferential lysis of antigen double-positive (dp) over single-positive (sp) leukemic cells by recruitment of natural killer (NK) cells as effectors. The two distal scFv modules were specific for the histocompatibility protein HLA-DR and the lymphoid antigen CD19, the central one for the Fc gamma receptor CD16. In antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) experiments with a mixture of leukemic target cells comprising both HLA-DR sp HuT-78 or Kasumi-1 cells and (HLA-DR plus CD19) dp SEM cells, the triplebody mediated preferential lysis of the dp cells even when the sp cells were present in ≤20-fold numerical excess. The triplebody promoted equal lysis of SEM cells at 2.5-fold and 19.5-fold lower concentrations than the parental antibodies specific for HLA-DR and CD19, respectively. Finally, the triplebody also eliminated primary leukemic cells at lower concentrations than an equimolar mixture of bispecific single-chain Fv fragments (bsscFvs) separately addressing each target antigen (hu19-ds16 and HLA-ds16). The increased selectivity of targeting and the preferential lysis of dp over sp cells achieved by dual-targeting open attractive new perspectives for the use of dual-targeting agents in cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3929450  PMID: 24135631
triplebodies; expanded natural killer cells; dual-targeting; selective cytotoxicity; preferential lysis
11.  A novel llama antibody targeting Fn14 exhibits anti-metastatic activity in vivo 
mAbs  2013;6(1):297-308.
Expression of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-inducible 14 (Fn14), a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, is typically low in healthy adult organisms, but strong Fn14 expression is induced in tissue injury and tissue remodeling. High Fn14 expression is also observed in solid tumors, which is why this receptor is under consideration as a therapeutic target in oncology. Here, we describe various novel mouse-human cross-reactive llama-derived recombinant Fn14-specific antibodies (5B6, 18D1, 4G5) harboring the human IgG1 Fc domain. In contrast to recombinant variants of the established Fn14-specific antibodies PDL192 and P4A8, all three llama-derived antibodies efficiently bound to the W42A and R56P mutants of human Fn14. 18D1 and 4G5, but not 5B6, efficiently blocked TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) binding at low concentrations (0.2–2 µg/ml). Oligomerization and Fcγ receptor (FcγR) binding converted all antibodies into strong Fn14 agonists. Variants of 18D1 with enhanced and reduced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) activity were further analyzed in vivo with respect to their effect on metastasis. In a xenogeneic model using human colon carcinoma cancer cells, both antibody variants were effective in reducing metastasis to the liver. In contrast, only the 18D1 variant with enhanced ADCC activity, but not its ADCC-defective counterpart, suppressed lung metastasis in the RENCA model. In sum, this suggests that Fn14 targeting might primarily act by triggering of antibody effector functions, but also by blockade of TWEAK-Fn14 interaction in some cases.
PMCID: PMC3929451  PMID: 24135629
Fcγ receptor; Fn14; TWEAK; antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity; camelid antibodies; metastases
12.  Antibodies to watch in 2014 
mAbs  2013;6(1):5-14.
Since 2010, mAbs has documented the biopharmaceutical industry’s progress in transitioning antibody therapeutics to first Phase 3 clinical studies and regulatory review, and its success at gaining first marketing approvals for antibody-based products. This installment of the “Antibodies to watch” series outlines events anticipated to occur between December 2013 and the end of 2014, including first regulatory actions on marketing applications for vedolizumab, siltuximab, and ramucirumab, as well as the Fc fusion proteins Factor IX-Fc and Factor VIII-Fc; and the submission of first marketing applications for up to five therapeutics (secukinumab, ch14.18, onartuzumab, necitumumab, gevokizumab). Antibody therapeutics in Phase 3 studies are described, with an emphasis on those with study completion dates in 2014, including antibodies targeting interleukin-17a or the interleukin-17a receptor (secukinumab, ixekizumab, brodalumab), proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (alirocumab, evolocumab, bococizumab), and programmed death 1 receptor (lambrolizumab, nivolumab). Five antibodies with US Food and Drug Administration’s Breakthrough Therapy designation (obinutuzumab, ofatumumab, lambrolizumab, bimagrumab, daratumumab) are also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3929455  PMID: 24284914
monoclonal antibodies; clinical studies; cancer; immune-mediated disorders; Food and Drug Administration; European Medicines Agency
13.  IgE immunotherapy 
mAbs  2013;6(1):54-72.
The importance of antibodies in activating immune responses against tumors is now better appreciated with the emergence of checkpoint blockade antibodies and with engineered antibody Fc domains featuring enhanced capacity to focus potent effector cells against cancer cells. Antibodies designed with Fc regions of the IgE class can confer natural, potent, long-lived immune surveillance in tissues through tenacious engagement of high-affinity cognate Fc receptors on distinct, often tumor-resident immune effector cells, and through ability to activate these cells under tumor-induced Th2-biased conditions. Here, we review the properties that make IgE a contributor to the allergic response and a critical player in the protection against parasites, which also support IgE as a novel anti-cancer modality. We discuss IgE-based active and passive immunotherapeutic approaches in disparate in vitro and in vivo model systems, collectively suggesting the potential of IgE immunotherapies in oncology. Translation toward clinical application is now in progress.
PMCID: PMC3929456  PMID: 24423620
IgE; antibodies; IgE immunotherapy; cancer immunotherapy; antibody effector functions; AllergoOncology
14.  Drugs derived from phage display 
mAbs  2013;6(1):73-85.
Phage display, one of today’s fundamental drug discovery technologies, allows identification of a broad range of biological drugs, including peptides, antibodies and other proteins, with the ability to tailor critical characteristics such as potency, specificity and cross-species binding. Further, unlike in vivo technologies, generating phage display-derived antibodies is not restricted by immunological tolerance. Although more than 20 phage display-derived antibody and peptides are currently in late-stage clinical trials or approved, there is little literature addressing the specific challenges and successes in the clinical development of phage-derived drugs. This review uses case studies, from candidate identification through clinical development, to illustrate the utility of phage display as a drug discovery tool, and offers a perspective for future developments of phage display technology.
PMCID: PMC3929457  PMID: 24262785
phage display; antibodies; peptides; drug discovery; biologics; clinical trials
15.  A human monoclonal antibody specific to placental alkaline phosphatase, a marker of ovarian cancer 
mAbs  2013;6(1):86-94.
Placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) is a promising ovarian cancer biomarker. Here, we describe the isolation, affinity-maturation and characterization of two fully human monoclonal antibodies (termed B10 and D9) able to bind to human PLAP with a dissociation constant (Kd) of 10 and 30 nM, respectively. The ability of B10 and D9 antibodies to recognize the native antigen was confirmed by Biacore analysis, FACS and immunofluorescence studies using ovarian cancer cell lines and freshly-frozen human tissues. A quantitative biodistribution study in nude mice revealed that the B10 antibody preferentially localizes to A431 tumors, following intravenous administration. Anti-PLAP antibodies may serve as a modular building blocks for the development of targeted therapeutic products, armed with cytotoxic drugs, radionuclides or cytokines as payloads.
PMCID: PMC3929458  PMID: 24247025
placental alkaline phosphatase; PLAP; ALPP; Regan isoenzyme; ovarian carcinoma; antibody phage technology
16.  Lessons for the clinic from rituximab pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics 
mAbs  2013;5(6):826-837.
The anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (RTX; Rituxan®, MabThera®) was the first anti-cancer antibody approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1997 and it is now the most-studied unconjugated therapeutic antibody. The knowledge gained over the past 15 y on the pharmacodynamics (PD) of this antibody has led to the development of a new generation of anti-CD20 antibodies with enhanced efficacy in vitro. Studies on the pharmacokinetics (PK) properties and the effect of factors such as tumor load and localization, antibody concentration in the circulation and gender on both PK and clinical response has allowed the design of optimized schedules and novel routes of RTX administration. Although clinical results using newer anti-CD20 antibodies, such as ofatumumab and obinutuzumab, and novel administration schedules for RTX are still being evaluated, the knowledge gained so far on RTX PK and PD should also be relevant for other unconjugated monoclonal antibody therapeutics, and will be critically reviewed here.
PMCID: PMC3896596  PMID: 23933992
B-NHL; CLL; FcRn; FcγRs; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; rituximab
17.  High throughput detection of antibody self-interaction by bio-layer interferometry 
mAbs  2013;5(6):838-841.
Self-interaction of an antibody may lead to aggregation, low solubility or high viscosity. Rapid identification of highly developable leads remains challenging, even though progress has been made with the introduction of techniques such as self-interaction chromatography (SIC) and cross-interaction chromatography (CIC). Here, we report a high throughput method to detect antibody clone self-interaction (CSI) using bio-layer interferometry (BLI) technology. Antibodies with strong self-interaction responses in the CSI-BLI assay also show delayed retention times in SIC and CIC. This method allows hundreds of candidates to be screened in a matter of hours with minimal material consumption.
PMCID: PMC3896597  PMID: 23995620
self-interaction; bio-layer interferometry; developability; solubility; monoclonal antibody; aggregation
18.  In vitro assessment of the effects of vedolizumab binding on peripheral blood lymphocytes 
mAbs  2013;5(6):842-850.
Vedolizumab (VDZ) is a humanized monoclonal antibody in development for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. VDZ binds to the α4β7 integrin complex and inhibits its binding to mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1), thus preventing lymphocyte extravasation to gut mucosal tissues. To understand whether VDZ has additional effects that may affect its overall safety as a therapeutic molecule, we examined other potential actions of VDZ. In vitro assays with human peripheral blood lymphocytes demonstrated that VDZ fails to elicit cytotoxicity, lymphocyte activation, and cytokine production from memory T lymphocytes and does not interfere with the suppressive ability of regulatory T cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that VDZ induces internalization of α4β7 and that the integrin is rapidly re-expressed and fully functional after VDZ withdrawal. These studies provide insight into the mechanisms underlying the observed safety profile of VDZ in clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3896598  PMID: 24492340
in vitro; inflammatory bowel disease; integrin; lymphocyte binding; receptor internalization; safety profile; vedolizumab
19.  The effect of pH dependence of antibody-antigen interactions on subcellular trafficking dynamics 
mAbs  2013;5(6):851-859.
A drawback of targeting soluble antigens such as cytokines or toxins with long-lived antibodies is that such antibodies can prolong the half-life of the target antigen by a “buffering” effect. This has motivated the design of antibodies that bind to target with higher affinity at near neutral pH relative to acidic endosomal pH (~pH 6.0). Such antibodies are expected to release antigen within endosomes following uptake into cells, whereas antibody will be recycled and exocytosed in FcRn-expressing cells. To understand how the pH dependence of antibody-antigen interactions affects intracellular trafficking, we generated three antibodies that bind IL-6 with different pH dependencies in the range pH 6.0–7.4. The behavior of antigen in the presence of these antibodies has been characterized using a combination of fixed and live cell fluorescence microscopy. As the affinity of the antibody:IL-6 interaction at pH 6.0 decreases, an increasing amount of antigen dissociates from FcRn-bound antibody in early and late endosomes, and then enters lysosomes. Segregation of antibody and FcRn from endosomes in tubulovesicular transport carriers (TCs) into the recycling pathway can also be observed in live cells, and the extent of IL-6 association with TCs correlates with increasing affinity of the antibody:IL-6 interaction at acidic pH. These analyses result in an understanding, in spatiotemporal terms, of the effect of pH dependence of antibody-antigen interactions on subcellular trafficking and inform the design of antibodies with optimized binding properties for antigen elimination.
PMCID: PMC3896599  PMID: 24492341
antigen buffering; antigen-antibody trafficking; pH-dependent
20.  NFκB induces overexpression of bovine FcRn 
mAbs  2013;5(6):860-871.
Among the many functions of the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) for IgG, it binds to IgG-opsonized antigen complexes and propagates their traffic into lysosomes where antigen processing occurs. We previously reported that transgenic (Tg) mice and rabbits that carry multiple copies and overexpress FcRn have augmented humoral immune responses. Nuclear factor-kappa B (NFκB) is a critical molecule in the signaling cascade in the immune response. NFκB induces human FcRn expression and our previous in silico analysis suggested NFκB binding sites in the promoter region of the bovine (b) FcRn α-chain gene (FCGRT). Here, we report the identification of three NFκB transcription binding sites in the promoter region of this gene using luciferase reporter gene technology, electromobility shift assay and supershift analysis. Stimulation of primary bovine endothelial cells with the Toll-like receptor-4 ligand lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which mediates its effect via NFκB, resulted in rapid upregulation of the bFcRn expression and a control gene, bovine E-selectin. This rapid bFcRn gene induction was also observed in the spleen of bFcRn Tg mice treated with intraperitoneally injected LPS, analyzed by northern blot analysis. Finally, NFκB-mediated bFcRn upregulation was confirmed at the protein level in macrophages isolated from the bFcRn Tg mice using flow cytometry with a newly developed FcRn specific monoclonal antibody that does not cross-react with the mouse FcRn. We conclude that NFκB regulates bFcRn expression and thus optimizes its functions, e.g., in the professional antigen presenting cells, and contributes to the much augmented humoral immune response in the bFcRn Tg mice.
PMCID: PMC3896600  PMID: 24492342
FcRn; IgG; NFκB; antigen presentation; humoral; immune response; transgenic mouse
21.  Effects of altered FcγR binding on antibody pharmacokinetics in cynomolgus monkeys 
mAbs  2013;5(6):896-903.
Antibody interactions with Fcγ receptors (FcγRs), like FcγRIIIA, play a critical role in mediating antibody effector functions and thereby contribute significantly to the biologic and therapeutic activity of antibodies. Over the past decade, considerable work has been directed towards production of antibodies with altered binding affinity to FcγRs and evaluation of how the alterations modulate their therapeutic activity. This has been achieved by altering glycosylation status at N297 or by engineering modifications in the crystallizable fragment (Fc) region. While the effects of these modifications on biologic activity and efficacy have been examined, few studies have been conducted to understand their effect on antibody pharmacokinetics (PK). We present here a retrospective analysis in which we characterize the PK of three antibody variants with decreased FcγR binding affinity caused by amino acid substitutions in the Fc region (N297A, N297G, and L234A/L235A) and three antibody variants with increased FcγRIIIA binding affinity caused by afucosylation at N297, and compare their PK to corresponding wild type antibody PK in cynomolgus monkeys. For all antibodies, PK was examined at a dose that was known to be in the linear range. Since production of the N297A and N297G variants in Chinese hamster ovary cells results in aglycosylated antibodies that do not bind to FcγRs, we also examined the effect of expression of an aglycosylated antibody, without sequence change(s), in E. coli. All the variants demonstrated similar PK compared with that of the wild type antibodies, suggesting that, for the six antibodies presented here, altered FcγR binding affinity does not affect PK.
PMCID: PMC3896603  PMID: 24492343
FcγR binding; afucosylation; aglycosylation; antibody; pharmacokinetics
22.  Consequences of glycan truncation on Fc structural integrity 
mAbs  2013;5(6):904-916.
Effective characterization of protein-based therapeutic candidates such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is important to facilitate their successful progression from early discovery and development stages to marketing approval. One challenge relevant to biopharmaceutical development is, understanding how the stability of a protein is affected by the presence of an attached oligosaccharide, termed a glycan. To explore the utility of molecular dynamics simulations as a complementary technique to currently available experimental methods, the Fc fragment was employed as a model system to improve our understanding of protein stabilization by glycan attachment. Long molecular dynamics simulations were performed on three Fc glycoform variants modeled using the crystal structure of a human IgG1 mAb. Two of these three glycoform variants have their glycan carbohydrates partially or completely removed. Structural differences among the glycoform variants during simulations suggest that glycan truncation and/or removal can cause quaternary structural deformation of the Fc as a result of the loss or disruption of a significant number of inter-glycan contacts that are not formed in the human IgG1 crystal structure, but do form during simulations described here. Glycan truncation/removal can also increase the tertiary structural deformation of CH2 domains, demonstrating the importance of specific carbohydrates toward stabilizing individual CH2 domains. At elevated temperatures, glycan truncation can also differentially affect structural deformation in locations (Helix-1 and Helix-2) that are far from the oligosaccharide attachment point. Deformation of these helices, which form part of the FcRn, could affect binding if these regions are unable to refold after temperature normalization. During elevated temperature simulations of the deglycosylated variant, CH2 domains collapsed onto CH3 domains. Observations from these glycan truncation/removal simulations have improved our understanding on how glycan composition can affect mAb stability.
PMCID: PMC3896604  PMID: 24492344
monoclonal antibodies; glycosylation; stability; molecular dynamics; oligosaccharides; glycans; Fc
23.  Analytical characterization of a monoclonal antibody therapeutic reveals a three-light chain species that is efficiently removed using hydrophobic interaction chromatography 
mAbs  2013;5(6):925-935.
Size exclusion high performance liquid chromatography analysis of a human monoclonal antibody (mAb) showed the presence of a new species that eluted with a retention time between the dimeric and monomeric species of the antibody. Extensive characterization of this species, referred to as “shoulder,” indicated that it was a mAb containing an extra light chain and had a molecular weight of approximately 175 kDa. The extra light chain was found to be non-covalently associated with the Fab portion of the protein. The relative amount of shoulder (typically 1−3% of the total mAb present) varied with the Chinese hamster ovary cell line producing the mAb and was not influenced by the growth conditions. Our three-step mAb purification platform using protein A, anion exchange, and cation exchange process steps was successful at removing dimer and higher and lower molecular weight species, but not the shoulder impurity. It was found that hydrophobic interaction chromatography could be used in place of cation exchange to exploit the subtle differences in hydrophobicity between monomer and shoulder. We developed an antibody polishing process using Butyl Sepharose HP resin that is capable of removing the majority of high and low molecular weight impurities yielding 99% pure mAb monomer, virtually devoid of the shoulder species, with a step recovery of about 80%.
PMCID: PMC3896606  PMID: 23995619
monoclonal antibody; antibody size variant; size exclusion chromatography; third light chain; hydrophobic interaction chromatography; design of experiments
24.  A bispecific antibody against two different epitopes on hepatitis B surface antigen has potent hepatitis B virus neutralizing activity 
mAbs  2013;5(6):946-955.
Treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection with interferon and viral reverse transcriptase inhibitor regimens results in poor viral clearance, loss of response, and emergence of drug-resistant mutant virus strains. These problems continue to drive the development of new therapeutic approaches to combat HBV. Here, we engineered a bispecific antibody using two monoclonal antibodies cloned from hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-specific memory B cells from recombinant HBsAg-vaccinated healthy volunteers. Next, we evaluated its efficacy in neutralizing HBV in HepaRG cells. This bispecific antibody, denoted as C4D2-BsAb, had superior HBV-neutralizing activity compared with the combination of both parental monoclonal antibodies, possibly through steric hindrance or induction of HBsAg conformational changes. Moreover, C4D2-BsAb has superior endocytotic characteristics into hepatocytes, which inhibits the secretion of HBsAg. These results suggest that the anti-HBsAg bispecific antibody may be an effective treatment method against HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC3896608  PMID: 24492346
hepatitis B virus; bispecific antibody; neutralizing activity; steric hindrance; conformational change; endocytosis
25.  Inhibition of angiogenesis by a novel neutralizing antibody targeting human VEGFR-3 
mAbs  2013;5(6):956-961.
Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) is a receptor for the vascular endothelial growth factor C and D (VEGF-C and D) and plays a critical role in the development of embryonic vascular system and regulation of tumor lymphangiogenesis. In this report, we generated a novel panel of 17 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against human VEGFR-3 and determined their ability to inhibit the proliferation of human erythroleukemia (HEL) cells and angiogenesis of chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). Among these mAbs, BDD073 was demonstrated to inhibit the interaction of soluble VEGFR-3 with VEGF-D and the proliferation of HEL cells. Furthermore, in chick embryo CAM angiogenesis experiments, the angiogenesis induced by recombinant glutathione-S-transferase-VEGF-D was decreased in the presence of antibody BDD073. These data suggest that this novel neutralizing antibody against human VEGFR-3 could be a tool for the investigations into the biology of VEGFR-3, and potentially a reagent for blocking VEGF-D-induced angiogenesis and lymphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3896609  PMID: 23995616
VEGFR-3; VEGF-D; antibody; angiogenesis

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