Small airway chronic inflammation is a major pathologic feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is refractory to current treatments. Dendritic cells (DCs) accumulate around small airways in COPD. DCs are critical mediators of antigen surveillance and antigen presentation and amplify adaptive immune responses. How DCs accumulate around airways remains largely unknown. We use 2-photon DC imaging of living murine lung sections to directly visualize the dynamic movement of living DCs around airways in response to either soluble mediators (IL-1β) or environmental stimuli (cigarette smoke or TLR3 ligands) implicated in COPD pathogenesis. We find that DCs accumulate around murine airways primarily by increasing velocity (chemokinesis) rather than directional migration (chemotaxis) in response to all three stimuli. DC accumulation maximally occurs in a specific zone located 26-50 μm from small airways, which overlaps with zones of maximal DC velocity. Our data suggest that increased accumulation of DCs around airways results from increased numbers of highly chemokinetic DCs entering the lung from the circulation with balanced rates of immigration and emigration. Increases in DC accumulation and chemokinesis are partially dependent on ccr6, a crucial DC chemokine receptor, and fibroblast expression of the integrin αvβ8, a critical activator of TGF-β αvβ8-mediated TGF-β activation is known to enhance IL-1β-dependent fibroblast expression of the only known endogenous ccr6 chemokine ligand, ccl20. Taken together, these data suggest a mechanism by which αvβ8, ccl20 and ccr6 interact to lead to DC accumulation around airways in response to COPD-relevant stimuli.
Background. Only Clostridium botulinum strain IBCA10-7060 produces the recently described novel botulinum neurotoxin type H (BoNT/H). BoNT/H (N-terminal two-thirds most homologous to BoNT/F and C-terminal one-third most homologous to BoNT/A) requires antitoxin to toxin ratios ≥1190:1 for neutralization by existing antitoxins. Hence, more potent and safer antitoxins against BoNT/H are needed.
Methods. We therefore evaluated our existing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to BoNT/A and BoNT/F for BoNT/H binding, created yeast-displayed mutants to select for higher-affinity-binding mAbs by using flow cytometry, and evaluated the mAbs' ability to neutralize BoNT/H in the standard mouse bioassay.
Results. Anti-BoNT/A HCC-binding mAbs RAZ1 and CR2 bound BoNT/H with high affinity. However, only 1 of 6 BoNT/F mAbs (4E17.2A) bound BoNT/H but with an affinity >800-fold lower (equilibrium dissociation binding constant [KD] = 7.56 × 10−8 M) than its BoNT/F affinity (KD = 9.1 × 10−11 M), indicating that the N-terminal two-thirds of BoNT/H is immunologically unique. The affinity of 4E17.2A for BoNT/H was increased >500-fold to KD = 1.48 × 10−10 M (mAb 4E17.2D). A combination of mAbs RAZ1, CR2, and 4E17.2D completely protected mice challenged with 280 mouse median lethal doses of BoNT/H at a mAb dose as low as 5 µg of total antibody.
Conclusions. This 3-mAb combination potently neutralized BoNT/H and represents a potential human antitoxin that could be developed for the prevention and treatment of type H botulism.
monoclonal antibodies; botulinum toxin; botulism; Clostridium botulinum; botulinum neurotoxin type H; bioterrorism; select agents
Existing antibodies (Abs) used to treat botulism cannot enter the cytosol of neurons and bind to botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) at its site of action, and thus cannot reverse paralysis. However, Abs targeting the proteolytic domain of the toxin could inhibit the proteolytic activity of the toxin intracellularly and potentially reverse intoxication, if they could be delivered intracellularly. As such, antibodies that neutralize toxin activity could serve as potent inhibitory cargos for therapeutic antitoxins against botulism. BoNT serotype B (BoNT/B) contains a zinc endopeptidase light chain (LC) domain that cleaves synaoptobrevin-2, a SNARE protein responsible for vesicle fusion and acetylcholine vesicle release. To generate monoclonal Abs (mAbs) that could reverse paralysis, we targeted the protease domain for Ab generation. Single-chain variable fragment (scFv) libraries from immunized mice or humans were displayed on yeast, and 19 unique BoNT/B LC-specific mAbs isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). The equilibrium dissociation constants (KD) of these mAbs for BoNT/B LC ranged from 0.24 nM to 14.3 nM (mean KD 3.27 nM). Eleven mAbs inhibited BoNT/B LC proteolytic activity. The fine epitopes of selected mAbs were identified by alanine-scanning mutagenesis, revealing that inhibitory mAbs bound near the active site, substrate-binding site or the extended substrate-binding site. The results provide mAbs that could prove useful for intracellular reversal of paralysis and identify epitopes that could be targeted by small molecules inhibitors.
botulinum antitoxin; inhibitory antibodies; Botulinum neurotoxin serotype B; alpha-exosite
The paralytic disease botulism is caused by botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT), multi-domain proteins containing a zinc endopeptidase that cleaves the cognate SNARE protein, thereby blocking acetylcholine neurotransmitter release. Antitoxins currently used to treat botulism neutralize circulating BoNT but cannot enter, bind to or neutralize BoNT that has already entered the neuron. The light chain endopeptidase domain (LC) of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) was targeted for generation of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that could reverse paralysis resulting from intoxication by BoNT/A. Single-chain variable fragment (scFv) libraries from immunized humans and mice were displayed on the surface of yeast, and 19 BoNT/A LC-specific mAbs were isolated by using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Affinities of the mAbs for BoNT/A LC ranged from a KD value of 9.0×10−11 M to 3.53×10−8 M (mean KD 5.38×10−9 M and median KD 1.53×10−9 M), as determined by flow cytometry analysis. Eleven mAbs inhibited BoNT/A LC catalytic activity with IC50 values ranging from 8.3 ~73×10−9 M. The fine epitopes of selected mAbs were also mapped by alanine-scanning mutagenesis, revealing that the inhibitory mAbs bound the α-exosite region remote from the BoNT/A LC catalytic center. The results provide mAbs that could prove useful for intracellular reversal of paralysis post-intoxication and further define epitopes that could be targeted by small molecule inhibitors.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) inhibit neurotransmitter release by hydrolysing SNARE proteins. The most important serotype BoNT/A employs the synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2 (SV2) isoforms A-C as neuronal receptors. Here, we identified their binding site by blocking SV2 interaction using monoclonal antibodies with characterised epitopes within the cell binding domain HC. The site is located on the backside of the conserved ganglioside binding pocket at the interface of the HCC and HCN subdomains. The dimension of the binding pocket was characterised in detail by site directed mutagenesis allowing the development of potent inhibitors as well as modifying receptor binding properties.
botulinum neurotoxin A; protein receptor binding site; SV2; monoclonal antibody; neutralisation
Airway remodeling, caused by inflammation and fibrosis, is a major component of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and currently has no effective treatment. Transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) has been widely implicated in the pathogenesis of airway remodeling in COPD. TGF-β is expressed in a latent form that requires activation. The integrin αvβ8 (encoded by the itgb8 gene) is a receptor for latent TGF-β and is essential for its activation. Expression of integrin αvβ8 is increased in airway fibroblasts in COPD and thus is an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of airway remodeling in COPD. We demonstrate that an engineered optimized antibody to human αvβ8 (B5) inhibited TGF-β activation in transgenic mice expressing only human and not mouse ITGB8. The B5 engineered antibody blocked fibroinflammatory responses induced by tobacco smoke, cytokines, and allergens by inhibiting TGF-β activation. To clarify the mechanism of action of B5, we used hydrodynamic, mutational, and electron microscopic methods to demonstrate that αvβ8 predominantly adopts a constitutively active, extended-closed headpiece conformation. Epitope mapping and functional characterization of B5 revealed an allosteric mechanism of action due to locking-in of a low-affinity αvβ8 conformation. Collectively, these data demonstrate a new model for integrin function and present a strategy to selectively target the TGF-β pathway to treat fibroinflammatory airway diseases.
A surface plasmon resonance based RNA aptasensor for rapid detection of natively folded type A botulinum neurotoxin is reported. Using detoxified recombinant type A botulinum neurotoxin as the surrogate, the aptasensor detects active toxin within 90 minutes. The detection limit of the aptasensor in phosphate buffered saline, carrot juice, and fat free milk is 5.8 ng/ml, 20.3 ng/ml and 23.4 ng/ml, respectively, while that in 5-fold diluted human serum is 22.5 ng/ml. Recovery of toxin from disparate sample matrices are within 91% to 116%. Most significant is the ability of this aptasensor to effectively differentiate the natively folded toxin from denatured, inactive toxin, which is important for homeland security surveillance and threat assessment. The aptasensor is stable for more than 30 days and over 400 injections/regeneration cycles. Such an aptasensor holds great promise for rapid detection of active botulinum neurotoxin for field surveillance due to its robustness, stability and reusability.
RNA aptamer; botulinum neurotoxin; Surface Plasmon Resonance; aptasensor
Aberrant expression and activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been implicated in the development and progression of many human cancers. As such, targeted therapeutic inhibition of EGFR, for example by antibodies, is a promising anticancer strategy. The overall efficacy of antibody therapies results from the complex interplay between affinity, valence, tumor penetration and retention, and signaling inhibition. To gain better insight into this relationship, we studied a panel of EGFR single chain Fv (scFv) antibodies that recognize an identical epitope on EGFR but bind with intrinsic monovalent affinities varying by 280 fold. The scFv were converted to Fab and IgG formats, and investigated for their ability to bind EGFR, compete with EGF binding, and inhibit EGF-mediated downstream signaling and proliferation. We observed that the apparent EGFR binding affinity for bivalent IgG plateaus at intermediate values of intrinsic affinity of the cognate Fab, leading to a biphasic curve describing the ratio of IgG to Fab affinity. Mathematical modeling of antibody-receptor binding indicated that the biphasic effect results from non-equilibrium assay limitations. This was confirmed by further observation that the potency of EGF competition for antibody binding to EGFR improved with both intrinsic affinity and antibody valence. Similarly, both higher intrinsic affinity and bivalent binding improved the potency of antibodies in blocking cellular signaling and proliferation. Overall, our work indicates that higher intrinsic affinity combined with bivalent binding can achieve avidity that leads to greater in vitro potency of antibodies, which may translate into greater therapeutic efficacy.
anti epidermal growth factor receptor antibody; affinity; avidity; phosphorylation; proliferation
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), produced by Clostridium botulinum, are a group of seven (A–G) immunologically distinct proteins and cause the paralytic disease botulism. These toxins are the most poisonous substances known to humans and are potential bioweapon agents. Therefore, it is necessary to develop highly sensitive assays for the detection of BoNTs in both clinical and environmental samples. In the current study, we have developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based protein antibody microarray for the sensitive and simultaneous detection of BoNT serotypes A, B, C, D, E, and F. With engineered high-affinity antibodies, the BoNT assays have sensitivities in buffer ranging from 1.3 fM (0.2 pg/ml) to 14.7 fM (2.2 pg/ml). Using clinical and food matrices (serum and milk), the microarray is capable of detecting BoNT serotypes A to F to similar levels as in standard buffer. Cross-reactivity between assays for individual serotype was also analyzed. These simultaneous, rapid, and sensitive assays have the potential to measure botulinum toxins in a high-throughput manner in complex clinical, food, and environmental samples.
Botulinum neurotoxin; Biodefense; ELISA; Protein microarray; Antibody; High-throughput assays
Antibody drugs are widely used in cancer therapy, but conditions to maximize tumor penetration and efficacy have yet to be fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated the impact of antibody binding affinity on tumor targeting and penetration with affinity variants that recognize the same epitope. Specifically, we compared four derivatives of the C6.5 monoclonal antibody (MAb) which recognizes the same HER2 epitope (monovalent KDs ranging from 270nM to 0.56nM). Moderate affinity was associated with the highest tumor accumulation at 24hr and 120hr post i.v. injection, whereas high affinity was found to produce the lowest tumor accumulation. Highest affinity MAb were confined to the perivascular space of tumors with an average penetration of 20.4 +/− 7.5 microns from tumor blood vessels. Conversely, lowest affinity MAb exhibited a broader distribution pattern with an average penetration of 84.8 +/− 12.8 microns. In vitro internalization assays revealed that antibody internalization and catabolism generally increased with affinity, plateauing once the rate of HER2 internalization exceeded the rate of antibody dissociation. Effects of internalization and catabolism on tumor targeting were further examined using antibodies of moderate (C6.5) or high affinity (trastuzumab) labeled with residualizing (111In-labeled) or non-residualizing (125I-labeled) radioisotopes. Significant amounts of antibody of both affinities were degraded by tumors in vivo. Further, moderate to high affinity MAbs targeting the same HER2 epitope with monovalent affinity above 23nM had equal tumor accumulation of residualizing radiolabel over 120hrs. Results indicated equal tumor exposure, suggesting that MAb penetration and retention in tumors reflected affinity-based differences in tumor catabolism. Together, these results suggest that high-density, rapidly internalizing antigens subject high-affinity antibodies to greater internalization and degradation, thereby limiting their penetration of tumors. In contrast, lower affinity antibodies penetrate tumors more effectively when rates of antibody-antigen dissociation are higher than rates of antigen internalization. Together, our findings offer insights into how to optimize the ability of therapeutic antibodies to penetrate tumors.
Botulism is caused by botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), extremely toxic proteins which can induce respiratory failure leading to long-term intensive care or death. Treatment for botulism includes administration of antitoxins, which must be administered early in the course of the intoxication; therefore, rapid determination of human exposure to BoNT is an important public health goal. In previous work, our laboratory reported on Endopep-MS, a mass spectrometry-based activity method for detecting and differentiating BoNT/A, /B, /E, and /F in clinical samples. We also demonstrated that antibody-capture is effective for purification and concentration of BoNTs from complex matrices such as clinical samples. However, some antibodies inhibit or neutralize the enzymatic activity of BoNT, so the choice of antibody for toxin extraction is critical.
In this work, we evaluated 24 anti-BoNT/B monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for their ability to inhibit the in vitro activity of BoNT/B1, /B2, /B3, /B4, and /B5 and to extract those toxins. Among the mAbs, there were significant differences in ability to extract BoNT/B subtypes and inhibitory effect on BoNT catalytic activity. Some of the mAbs tested enhanced the in vitro light chain activity of BoNT/B, suggesting that BoNT/B may undergo conformational change upon binding some mAbs.
In addition to determining in vitro inhibition abilities of a panel of mAbs against BoNT/B1-/B5, this work has determined B12.2 and 2B18.2 to be the best mAbs for sample preparation before Endopep-MS. These mAb characterizations also have the potential to assist with mechanistic studies of BoNT/B protection and treatment, which is important for studying alternative therapeutics for botulism.
The airway is a primary portal of entry for noxious environmental stimuli that can trigger airway remodeling, which contributes significantly to airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic asthma. Important pathologic components of airway remodeling include fibrosis and abnormal innate and adaptive immune responses. The positioning of fibroblasts in interstitial spaces suggests that they could participate in both fibrosis and chemokine regulation of the trafficking of immune cells such as dendritic cells, which are crucial antigen-presenting cells. However, physiological evidence for this dual role for fibroblasts is lacking. Here, in two physiologically relevant models — conditional deletion in mouse fibroblasts of the TGF-β–activating integrin αvβ8 and neutralization of αvβ8 in human COPD fibroblasts — we have elucidated a mechanism whereby lung fibroblast chemokine secretion directs dendritic cell trafficking, in a manner that is critically dependent on αvβ8-mediated activation of TGF-β by fibroblasts. Our data therefore indicate that fibroblasts have a crucial role in regulating both fibrotic and immune responses in the lung.
Ingestion or inhalation of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) results in botulism, a severe and frequently fatal disease. Current treatments rely on antitoxins, which while effective cannot reverse symptoms once BoNT has entered the neuron. For treatments that can reverse intoxication, interest has focused on developing inhibitors of the enzymatic BoNT light chain (BoNT Lc). Such inhibitors typically mimic substrate and bind in or around the substrate cleavage pocket. To explore the full range of binding sites for serotype A light chain (BoNT/A Lc) inhibitors, we created a library of non-immune llama single domain VHH antibodies displayed on the surface of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Library selection on BoNT/A Lc yielded 15 yeast displayed VHH with equilibrium dissociation constants (KD) from 230 to 0.03 nM measured by flow cytometry. Eight of 15 VHH inhibited the cleavage of substrate SNAP25 by BoNT/A Lc. The most potent VHH (Aa1) had a solution KD for BoNT/A Lc of 1.47 × 10-10 M, an IC50 of 4.7 × 10-10 M, and was resistant to heat denaturation and reducing conditions. To understand the mechanism by which Aa1 inhibited catalysis, the X-ray crystal structure of the BoNT/A Lc - Aa1 VHH complex was solved at 2.6 Å resolution. The structure reveals that the Aa1 VHH binds in the alpha-exosite of the BoNT/A Lc, far from the active site for catalysis. The study validates the utility of non-immune llama VHH libraries as a source of enzyme inhibitors and identifies the BoNT/A Lc alpha-exosite as a target for inhibitor development.
botulinum neurotoxin type A; llama single VHH; single domain antibody; alpha-exosite; Naïve yeast-displayed library
The cell surface protease membrane-type serine protease 1 [MT-SP1]/matriptase is often upregulated in epithelial cancers. A dysregulation in MT-SP1/matriptase levels with respect to its cognate inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor-1 [HAI-1] suggests that it is an increase in proteolytic activity that significantly differentiates malignant from normal tissue. Here we use antibodies to demonstrate that MT-SP1 is active on cancer cells and that this activity may be targeted for tumor detection in vivo. A proteolytic activity assay with the MT-SP1-positive human cancer cell lines MCF-7, HT29, LNCaP, and MDA-MB-468 showed that the antibodies, which inhibit recombinant catalytic MT-SP1, are able to bind and inhibit the full-length enzyme. The same experiment with the MT-SP1-negative breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231, COLO 320DM and HT1080 showed no inhibition of proteolysis. Fluorescent microscopy then confirmed localization of labeled antibodies to the surface of MT-SP1-positive cells. To evaluate these antibodies as probes for targeting MT-SP1 activity in vivo, 0.7-2 nanomoles of fluorescently labeled antibodies were administered to xenograft mouse cancer models. The antibodies localized to the MT-SP1-positive MCF-7 and MCF-7/Luc+ tumors (n=3), permitting visualization of MT-SP1 activity. Fluorescence was not observed in MT-SP1-negative MDA-MD-231/Luc+ tumors (n=2), suggesting that MT-SP1 activity is a novel biomarker for epithelial cancer and these antibodies provide a non-invasive method for detecting this activity in vivo.
Cancer; MT-SP1; Matriptase; Protease Activity
A fluorescence sandwich immunoassay using high affinity antibodies and quantum dot (QD) reporters has been developed for detection of botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) using a nontoxic recombinant fragment of the holotoxin (BoNT/A-HC-fragment) as a structurally valid simulant for the full toxin molecule. The antibodies used, AR4 and RAZ1, bind to nonoverlapping epitopes present on both the full toxin and on the recombinant fragment. In one format, the immunoassay is carried out in a 96-well plate with detection in a standard plate reader using AR4 as the capture antibody and QD-coupled RAZ1 as the reporter. Detection to 31 pM with a total incubation time of 3 hours was demonstrated. In a second format, the AR4 capture antibody was coupled to Sepharose beads, and the reactions were carried out in microcentrifuge tubes with an incubation time of 1 hour. The beads were subsequently captured and concentrated in a rotating rod “renewable surface” flow cell equipped with a fiber optic system for fluorescence measurements. In PBS buffer, the BoNT/A-HC-fragment was detected to concentrations as low as 5 pM using the fluidic measurement approach.
Quantum dot; immunoassay; botulinum toxin; fluorescence
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are extremely potent toxins that are capable of causing respiratory failure leading to long-term intensive care or death. The best treatment for botulism includes serotype-specific antitoxins, which are most effective when administered early in the course of the intoxication. Early confirmation of human exposure to any serotype of BoNT is an important public health goal. In previous work, we focused on developing Endopep-MS, a mass spectrometry-based endopeptidase method for detecting and differentiating the seven serotypes (BoNT/A-G) in buffer and BoNT/A, /B, /E, and /F (the four serotypes that commonly affect humans) in clinical samples. We have previously reported the success of antibody-capture to purify and concentrate BoNTs from complex matrices, such as clinical samples. However, to check for any one of the four serotypes of BoNT/A, /B, /E, or /F, each sample is split into 4 aliquots, and tested for the specific serotypes separately. The discovery of a unique monoclonal antibody that recognizes all four serotypes of BoNT/A, /B, /E and /F allows us to perform simultaneous detection of all of them. When applied in conjunction with the Endopep-MS assay, the detection limit for each serotype of BoNT with this multi-specific monoclonal antibody is similar to that obtained when using other serotype-specific antibodies.
Adulteration of food or feed with any of the seven serotypes of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is a potential bioterrorism concern. Currently, there is strong interest in the development of detection reagents, vaccines, therapeutics, and other countermeasures. A sensitive immunoassay for detecting BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A), based on monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) F1-2 and F1-40, has been developed and used in complex matrices. The epitope for F1-2 has been mapped to the heavy chain of BoNT/A, and the epitope of F1-40 has been mapped to the light chain. The ability of these MAbs to provide therapeutic protection against BoNT/A intoxication in mouse intravenous and oral intoxication models was tested. High dosages of individual MAbs protected mice well both pre- and postexposure to BoNT/A holotoxin. A combination therapy consisting of antibodies against both the light and heavy chains of the toxin, however, significantly increased protection, even at a lower MAb dosage. An in vitro peptide assay for measuring toxin activity showed that pretreatment of toxin with these MAbs did not block catalytic activity but instead blocked toxin entry into primary and cultured neuronal cells. The timing of antibody rescue in the mouse intoxication models revealed windows of opportunity for antibody therapeutic treatment that correlated well with the biologic half-life of the toxin in the serum. Knowledge of BoNT intoxication and antibody clearance in these mouse models and understanding of the pharmacokinetics of BoNT are invaluable for future development of antibodies and therapeutics against intoxication by BoNT.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are extremely potent toxins that are capable of causing death or respiratory failure leading to long-term intensive care. Treatment includes serotype-specific antitoxins, which must be administered early in the course of the intoxication. Rapidly determining human exposure to BoNT is an important public health goal. In previous work, our laboratory focused on developing Endopep-MS, a mass spectrometry-based endopeptidase method for detecting and differentiating BoNT/A–G serotypes in buffer and BoNT/A, /B, /E, and /F in clinical samples. We have previously reported the effectiveness of antibody-capture to purify and concentrate BoNTs from complex matrices, such as clinical samples. Because some antibodies inhibit or neutralize the activity of BoNT, the choice of antibody with which to extract the toxin is critical. In this work, we evaluated a panel of 16 anti-BoNT/A monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) for their ability to inhibit the in vitro activity of BoNT/A1, /A2, and /A3 complex as well as the recombinant LC of A1. We also evaluated the same antibody panel for the ability to extract BoNT/A1, /A2, and /A3. Among the mAbs, there were significant differences in extraction efficiency, ability to extract BoNT/A subtypes, and inhibitory effect on BoNT catalytic activity. The mAbs binding the C-terminal portion of the BoNT/A heavy chain had optimal properties for use in the Endopep-MS assay.