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1.  Discovery of internalizing antibodies to tumor antigens from phage libraries 
Methods in enzymology  2012;502:43-66.
Phage antibody technology can be used to generate human antibodies to essentially any antigen. Many therapeutic target antigens are cell surface receptors, which can be challenging targets for antibody generation. In addition, for many therapeutic applications, one needs antibodies that not only bind the cell surface receptor but that also are internalized into the cell upon binding. This allows use of the antibody to deliver a range of payloads into the cell to achieve a therapeutic effect. In this chapter we describe how human phage antibody libraries can be selected directly on tumor cell lines to generate antibodies that bind cell surface receptors and which upon binding are rapidly internalized into the cell. Specific protocols show how to: 1) directly select cell binding and internalizing antibodies from human phage antibody libraries; 2) screen the phage antibodies in a high throughput flow cytometry assay for binding to the tumor cell line used for selection; 3) identify the antigen bound by the phage antibody using immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry; and 4) direct cell binding and internalizing selections to a specific tumor antigen by sequential selection on a tumor cell line followed by selection on yeast displaying the target tumor antigen on the yeast surface.
PMCID: PMC4180867  PMID: 22208981
Phage antibody; antibody internalization; targeted drug delivery; cell selection; flow cytometry; yeast display
2.  Combining Anti-ERBB3 Antibodies Specific for Domain I and Domain III Enhances the Anti-Tumor Activity over the Individual Monoclonal Antibodies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112376.
Inappropriate signaling through the epidermal growth factor receptor family (EGFR1/ERBB1, ERBB2/HER2, ERBB3/HER3, and ERBB4/HER4) of receptor tyrosine kinases leads to unregulated activation of multiple downstream signaling pathways that are linked to cancer formation and progression. In particular, ERBB3 plays a critical role in linking ERBB signaling to the phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Akt signaling pathway and increased levels of ERBB3-dependent signaling is also increasingly recognized as a mechanism for acquired resistance to ERBB-targeted therapies.
We had previously reported the isolation of a panel of anti-ERBB3 single-chain Fv antibodies through use of phage-display technology. In the current study scFv specific for domain I (F4) and domain III (A5) were converted into human IgG1 formats and analyzed for efficacy.
Treatment of cells with an oligoclonal mixture of the A5/F4 IgGs appeared more effective at blocking both ligand-induced and ligand-independent signaling through ERBB3 than either single IgG alone. This correlated with improved ability to inhibit the cell growth both as a single agent and in combination with other ERBB-targeted therapies. Treatment of NCI-N87 tumor xenografts with the A5/F4 oligoclonal led to a statistically significant decrease in tumor growth rate that was further enhanced in combination with trastuzumab.
These results suggest that an oligoclonal antibody mixture may be a more effective approach to downregulate ERBB3-dependent signaling.
PMCID: PMC4227695  PMID: 25386657
3.  Impact of intrinsic affinity on functional binding and biological activity of EGFR antibodies 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2012;11(7):1467-1476.
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.
PMCID: PMC4209485  PMID: 22564724
anti epidermal growth factor receptor antibody; affinity; avidity; phosphorylation; proliferation
4.  Selection and characterization of cell binding and internalizing phage antibodies 
Many therapeutic targets are cell surface receptors, which can be challenging antigens for antibody generation. For many therapeutic applications, one needs antibodies that not only bind the cell surface receptor but also are internalized into the cell. This allows use of the antibody to deliver various payloads into the cell to achieve a therapeutic effect. Phage antibody technology has proven a powerful tool for the generation and optimization of human antibodies to any antigen. While applied to the generation of antibodies to purified proteins, it is possible to directly select cell binding and internalizing antibodies on cells. Potential advantages of this approach include: cell surface receptors are in native conformation on intact cells while this might not be so for recombinant proteins; antibodies can be selected for both cell binding and internalization properties; the antibodies can be used to identify their tumor associated antigens; and such antibodies can be used for human treatment directly since they are human in sequence.
This review will discuss the factors that impact the successful selection of cell binding and internalizing antibodies. These factors include the cell types used for selection, the impact of different phage antibody library formats, and the specific selection protocols used.
PMCID: PMC4209712  PMID: 22627065
Phage antibody; antibody internalization; targeted drug delivery; cell selection; flow cytometry
5.  RNA aptasensor for rapid detection of natively folded type A botulinum neurotoxin 
Talanta  2013;117:273-280.
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.
PMCID: PMC3909959  PMID: 24209341
RNA aptamer; botulinum neurotoxin; Surface Plasmon Resonance; aptasensor
6.  High Throughput Identification of Monoclonal Antibodies to Membrane Bound and Secreted Proteins Using Yeast and Phage Display 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111339.
Antibodies are ubiquitous and essential reagents for biomedical research. Uses of antibodies include quantifying proteins, identifying the temporal and spatial pattern of expression in cells and tissue, and determining how proteins function under normal or pathological conditions. Specific antibodies are only available for a small portion of the proteome, limiting study of those proteins for which antibodies do not exist. The technologies to generate target-specific antibodies need to be improved to obtain high quality antibodies to the proteome at reasonable cost. Here we show that renewable, validated, and standardized monoclonal antibodies can be generated at high throughput, without the need for antigen production or animal immunizations. In this study, 60 protein domains from 24 selected secreted proteins were expressed on the surface of yeast and used for selection of phage antibodies, over 400 monoclonal antibodies were identified within 3 weeks. A subset of these antibodies was validated for binding to cancer cells that overexpress the target protein by flow cytometry or immunohistochemistry. This approach will be applicable to many of the membrane-bound and the secreted proteins, 20–40% of the proteome, accelerating the timeline for Ab generation while reducing the cost.
PMCID: PMC4213037  PMID: 25353955
7.  Impact of single chain Fv antibody fragment affinity on nanoparticle targeting of epidermal growth factor receptor expressing tumor cells 
Journal of molecular biology  2007;371(4):934-947.
To determine the importance of single chain Fv (scFv) affinity on binding, uptake, and cytotoxicity of tumor targeting nanoparticles, the affinity of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) scFv antibody C10 was increased using molecular evolution and yeast display. A library containing scFv mutants was created by error-prone PCR, displayed on the surface of yeast, and higher affinity clones selected by fluorescence activated cell sorting. Ten mutant scFv were identified that had a 3 to 18-fold improvement in affinity (KD = 15-88 nM) for EGFR expressing A431 tumor cells compared to C10 scFv (KD = 264 nM). By combining mutations, higher affinity scFv were generated with KD ranging from 0.9 to 10 nM. The highest affinity scFv had a 280-fold higher affinity compared to the parental C10 scFv. Immunoliposome nanoparticles (ILs) were prepared using EGFR scFv with a 280-fold range of affinities and their binding and uptake into EGFR expressing tumor cells quantitated. At scFv densities greater than 148 scFv/IL, there was no effect of scFv affinity on IL binding and uptake into tumor cells or on cytotoxicity. At lower scFv densities, there was less uptake and binding for ILs constructed from the very low affinity C10 scFv. The results show the importance of antibody fragment density on nanoparticle uptake and suggest that engineering ultrahigh affinity scFv may be unnecessary for optimal nanoparticle targeting.
PMCID: PMC4198021  PMID: 17602702
yeast display; single chain Fv antibody; epidermal growth factor receptor; affinity maturation; immunoliposome
8.  Internalizing cancer antibodies from phage libraries selected on tumor cells and yeast displayed tumor antigens 
Journal of molecular biology  2010;404(1):88-99.
A number of approaches have been utilized to generate antibodies to cancer cell surface receptors which can be used as potential therapeutics. A number of these therapeutic approaches, including antibody-drug conjugates, immunotoxins, and targeted nucleic acid delivery, require antibodies that not only bind receptor, but that also undergo internalization into the cell upon binding. We previously reported the ability to generate cancer cell binding and internalizing antibodies directly from human phage antibody libraries selected for internalization into cancer cell lines. While a number of useful antibodies have been generated using this approach, limitations include the inability to direct the selections to specific antigens and identifying the antigen bound by the antibodies. Here we show that these limitation can be overcome by using yeast displayed antigens known to be associated with a cell type to select the phage antibody output after several rounds of selection on a mammalian cell line. We used this approach to generate several human phage antibodies to yeast displayed EphA2 and CD44. The antibodies bound both yeast displayed and mammalian cell surface antigen and were endocytosed upon binding to mammalian cells. This approach is generalizable to many mammalian cell surface proteins, results in the generation of functional internalizing antibodies, and does not require antigen expression and purification for antibody generation.
PMCID: PMC4195448  PMID: 20851130
asaloid breast cancer; single chain Fv antibody; phage display; yeast display
9.  Simultaneous and sensitive detection of six serotypes of botulinum neurotoxin using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based protein antibody microarrays 
Analytical biochemistry  2012;430(2):185-192.
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.
PMCID: PMC3589981  PMID: 22935296
Botulinum neurotoxin; Biodefense; ELISA; Protein microarray; Antibody; High-throughput assays
10.  N-Terminal Labeling Of Filamentous Phage To Create Cancer Marker Imaging Agents 
ACS nano  2012;6(8):6675-6680.
We report a convenient new technique for the labeling of filamentous phage capsid proteins. Previous reports have shown that phage coat protein residues can be modified, but the lack of chemically distinct amino acids in the coat protein sequences makes it difficult to attach high levels of synthetic molecules without altering the binding capabilities of the phage. To modify the phage with polymer chains, imaging groups, and other molecules, we have developed chemistry to convert the N-terminal amines of the ~4,200 coat proteins into ketone groups. These sites can then serve as chemospecific handles for the attachment of alkoxyamine groups through oxime formation. Specifically, we demonstrate the attachment of fluorophores and up to 3,000 molecules of 2 kD poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG2k) to each of the phage capsids without significantly affecting the binding of phage-displayed antibody fragments to EGFR and HER2 (two important epidermal growth factor receptors). We also demonstrate the utility of the modified phage for the characterization of breast cancer cells using multicolor fluorescence microscopy. Due to the widespread use of filamentous phage as display platforms for peptide and protein evolution, we envision that the ability to attach large numbers of synthetic functional groups to their coat proteins will be of significant value to the biological and materials communities.
PMCID: PMC3435507  PMID: 22830952
phage display; bioorthogonal; bioconjugation; materials science; cancer imaging
11.  Synergistic capture of Clostridium botulinum Type A neurotoxin by scFv antibodies to novel epitopes 
Biotechnology and bioengineering  2011;108(10):2456-2467.
A non-immune library of human single chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies displayed on Saccharomyces cerevisiae was screened for binding to the Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin serotype A binding domain [BoNT/A (Hc)] with the goal of identifying scFv to novel epitopes. To do this, an antibody-mediated labeling strategy was used in which antigen-binding yeast clones were selected after labeling with previously characterized monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific to the Hc. Twenty unique scFv clones were isolated that bound Hc. Of these, three also bound to full-length BoNT/A toxin complex with affinities ranging from 5 nM to 48 nM. Epitope binning showed that the three unique clones recognized at least two epitopes distinct from one another as well as from the detection MAbs. After production in E. coli, scFv were coupled to magnetic particles and tested for their ability to capture BoNT/A holotoxin using an Endopep-MS assay. In this assay, toxin captured by scFv coated magnetic particles was detected by incubation of the complex with a peptide containing a BoNT/A-specific cleavage sequence. Mass spectrometry was used to detect the ratio of intact peptide to cleavage products as evidence for toxin capture. When tested individually, each of the scFv showed a weak positive Endopep-MS result. However, when the particles were coated with all three scFv simultaneously, they exhibited significantly higher Endopep-MS activity, consistent with synergistic binding. These results demonstrate novel approaches toward the isolation and characterization of scFv antibodies specific to unlabeled antigens. They also provide evidence that distinct scFv antibodies can work synergistically to increase the efficiency of antigen capture onto a solid support.
PMCID: PMC3203252  PMID: 21538339
Affinity reagents; molecular probes; scFv; antibodies; BoNT/A; yeast display
12.  Enhanced Growth Inhibition of Osteosarcoma by Cytotoxic Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticles Targeting the Alcam Cell Surface Receptor 
Sarcoma  2012;2012:126906.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignancy of bone in children, adolescents, and adults. Despite extensive surgery and adjuvant aggressive high-dose systemic chemotherapy with potentially severe bystander side effects, cure is attainable in about 70% of patients with localized disease and only 20%–30% of those patients with metastatic disease. Targeted therapies clearly are warranted in improving our treatment of this adolescent killer. However, a lack of osteosarcoma-associated/specific markers has hindered development of targeted therapeutics. We describe a novel osteosarcoma-associated cell surface antigen, ALCAM. We, then, create an engineered anti-ALCAM-hybrid polymerized liposomal nanoparticle immunoconjugate (α-AL-HPLN) to specifically target osteosarcoma cells and deliver a cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agent, doxorubicin. We have demonstrated that α-AL-HPLNs have significantly enhanced cytotoxicity over untargeted HPLNs and over a conventional liposomal doxorubicin formulation. In this way, α-AL-HPLNs are a promising new strategy to specifically deliver cytotoxic agents in osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC3447386  PMID: 23024593
13.  Therapeutic Antibodies: Current State and Future Trends – Is a Paradigm Change Coming Soon? 
Antibody-based therapeutics currently enjoy unprecedented success, growth in research and revenues, and recognition of their potential. It appears that the promise of the “magic bullet” has largely been realized. There are currently 22 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use and hundreds are in clinical trials for treatment of various diseases including cancers, immune disorders, and infections. The revenues from the top five therapeutic antibodies (Rituxan, Remicade, Herceptin, Humira, and Avastin) nearly doubled from $6.4 billion in 2004 to $11.7 billion in 2006. During the last several years major pharmaceutical companies raced to acquire antibody companies, with a recent example of MedImmune being purchased for $15.6 billion by AstraZeneca. These therapeutic and business successes reflect the major advances in antibody engineering which have resulted in the generation of safe, specific, high-affinity, and non-immunogenic antibodies during the last three decades. Currently, second and third generations of antibodies are under development, mostly to improve already existing antibody specificities. However, although the refinement of already known methodologies is certainly of great importance for potential clinical use, there are no conceptually new developments in the last decade comparable, for example, to the development of antibody libraries, phage display, domain antibodies (dAbs), and antibody humanization to name a few. A fundamental question is then whether there will be another change in the paradigm of research as happened 1–2 decades ago or the current trend of gradual improvement of already developed methodologies and therapeutic antibodies will continue. Although any prediction could prove incorrect, it appears that conceptually new methodologies are needed to overcome the fundamental problems of drug (antibody) resistance due to genetic or/and epigenetic alterations in cancer and chronic infections, as well as problems related to access to targets and complexity of biological systems. If new methodologies are not developed, it is likely that gradual saturation will occur in the pipeline of conceptually new antibody therapeutics. In this scenario we will witness an increase in combination of targets and antibodies, and further attempts to personalize targeted treatments by using appropriate biomarkers as well as to develop novel scaffolds with properties that are superior to those of the antibodies now in clinical use.
PMCID: PMC3402212  PMID: 19252861
Antibody therapy; Rituxan; Herceptin; Remicade; Synagis; Humira; Avastin; IgG1; domain antibodies; antibody-derived scaffold
14.  An Engineered Cysteine-Modified Diabody For Imaging Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule (ALCAM)-Positive Tumors 
Molecular Imaging and Biology  2012;14(3):336-347.
To generate and evaluate a positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer targeting activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM/CD166).
A human anti-ALCAM single chain variable fragment was reformatted to produce a covalent dimer, termed a cys-diabody (CysDb). Purified CysDb was characterized by gel electrophoresis and size exclusion chromatography, and immunoreactivity was assessed by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence. Targeting and imaging of ALCAM-positive tumors using 64Cu-DOTA-CysDb were evaluated in mice bearing human pancreatic adenocarcinoma xenografts (HPAF-II or BxPC-3).
CysDb binds specifically to ALCAM-positive cells in vitro with an apparent affinity in the range of 1–3 nM. MicroPET images at 4 h showed specific targeting of positive tumors in vivo, a finding confirmed by biodistribution analysis, with positive-to-negative tumor ratios of 1.9±0.6 and 2.4±0.6, and positive tumor-to-blood ratios of 2.5±0.9 and 2.9±0.6 (HPAF-II and BxPC-3, respectively).
Successful imaging with 64Cu-DOTA-CysDb in animal models suggests further investigation of ALCAM as an imaging biomarker is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3227780  PMID: 21630083
activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM); biomarker; diabody; pancreatic cancer; positron emission tomography (PET)
15.  Evaluation of the anti-HER2 C6.5 diabody as a PET radiotracer to monitor HER2 status and predict response to trastuzumab treatment 
The rapid tumor targeting and pharmacokinetic properties of engineered antibodies make them potentially suitable for use in imaging strategies to predict and monitor response to targeted therapies. This study aims to evaluate C6.5 diabody (C6.5db), a non-covalent anti-HER2 single chain-Fv dimer, as a radiotracer for predicting response to HER2-targeted therapies such as trastuzumab.
Experimental Design
Immunodeficient mice bearing established HER2-positive tumor xenografts were injected with radioiodinated C6.5db and imaged using PET/CT. Radiotracer biodistribution was quantified using biopsied tumor and normal tissues. Potential competition between trastuzumab and C6.5db was examined in vitro by flow cytometry and co-immunoprecipitations.
Biodistribution analysis of mice bearing xenografts with varying HER2 density revealed that the tumor uptake of 125I-C6.5db correlates with HER2 tumor density. In vitro competition experiments suggest that the C6.5db targets an epitope on HER2 that is distinct from that bound by trastuzumab. Treatment of SK-OV-3-tumored mice with trastuzumab for 3 d caused a 42% (P=0.002) decrease in tumor uptake of 125I-C6.5db. This is consistent with a dramatic decrease in the tumor PET signal of 124I-C6.5db after trastuzumab treatment. Furthermore, BT-474-tumored mice showed a ∼60% decrease (P=0.0026) in C6.5db uptake after 6 d of trastuzumab treatment. Immunohistochemistry of excised xenograft sections and in vitro flow cytometry revealed that the decreased C6.5db uptake upon trastuzumab treatment is not associated with HER2 downregulation.
These studies suggest that 124I-C6.5db-based imaging can be used to evaluate HER2 levels as a predictor of respone to HER2-directed therapies.
PMCID: PMC3060271  PMID: 21177408
antibody; HER2; breast cancer; trastuzumab; PET imaging
16.  Influence of Affinity and Antigen Internalization on the Uptake and Penetration of Anti-HER2 Antibodies in Solid Tumors 
Cancer research  2011;71(6):2250-2259.
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.
PMCID: PMC3077882  PMID: 21406401
17.  Extraction and inhibition of enzymatic activity of botulinum neurotoxins /B1, /B2, /B3, /B4, and /B5 by a panel of monoclonal anti-BoNT/B antibodies 
BMC Biochemistry  2011;12:58.
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.
PMCID: PMC3250939  PMID: 22085466
18.  Diabodies targeting epithelial membrane protein 2 reduce tumorigenicity of human endometrial cancer cell lines 
Endometrial cancer (EC) is the most common gynecologic malignancy. One promising biomarker is epithelial membrane protein-2 (EMP2), and its expression is an independent prognostic indicator for tumors with poor clinical outcome expression. The present study assesses the suitability of EMP2 as a therapeutic target.
Experimental Design
Human monovalent anti-EMP2 antibody fragments were isolated from a human phage display library, and engineered as bivalent antibody fragments (diabodies) with specificity and avidity to both EMP2 peptides and native cell-surface EMP2 protein. Diabodies were assessed using cell death and apoptosis assays. In addition, the efficacy of EMP2 diabodies on EC tumors was determined using mouse xenograft models.
Treatment of human endometrial adenocarcinoma cell lines with anti-EMP2 diabodies induced significant cell death and caspase 3 cleavage in vitro. These responses correlated with cellular EMP2 expression, and were augmented by progesterone (which physiologically induces EMP2 expression). In vivo, treatment of subcutaneous human xenografts of HEC-1A cell lines with anti-EMP2 diabodies suppressed tumor growth, and induced striking xenograft cell death.
These findings suggest that EMP2 may be a potential pharmacological target for human EC.
PMCID: PMC3109074  PMID: 19010852
Epithelial membrane protein 2; endometrial cancer; phage display; antibody therapy
19.  Mouse and human lung fibroblasts regulate dendritic cell trafficking, airway inflammation, and fibrosis through integrin αvβ8–mediated activation of TGF-β 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(7):2863-2875.
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.
PMCID: PMC3223836  PMID: 21646718
20.  A Single Domain Llama Antibody Potently Inhibits the Enzymatic Activity of Botulinum Neurotoxin by Binding to the Non-Catalytic Alpha-Exosite Binding Region 
Journal of molecular biology  2010;397(4):1106-1118.
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.
PMCID: PMC2903050  PMID: 20138889
botulinum neurotoxin type A; llama single VHH; single domain antibody; alpha-exosite; Naïve yeast-displayed library
21.  Specific Targeting of Proteolytic Activity for Tumor Detection in vivo 
Cancer research  2010;70(4):1505.
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.
PMCID: PMC2823079  PMID: 20145119
Cancer; MT-SP1; Matriptase; Protease Activity
22.  An Affinity Matured Minibody for PET Imaging of Prostate Stem Cell Antigen (PSCA)-Expressing Tumors 
Prostate Stem Cell Antigen (PSCA), a cell surface glycoprotein expressed in normal human prostate and bladder, is over-expressed in the majority of localized prostate cancer and most bone metastases. We have previously shown that the hu1G8 minibody, a humanized anti-PSCA antibody fragment (single-chain Fv-CH3 dimer, 80 kDa) can localize specifically and image PSCA-expressing xenografts at 21 h post injection. However, the humanization and antibody fragment reformatting decreased its apparent affinity. Here, we sought to evaluate PET imaging contrast with affinity matured minibodies.
Yeast scFv display, involving four rounds of selection, was used to generate the three affinity matured antibody fragments (A2, A11 and C5) that were reformatted into minibodies. These three affinity matured anti-PSCA minibodies were characterized in vitro, and following radiolabeling with 124I were evaluated in vivo for microPET imaging of PSCA expressing tumors.
The A2, A11 and C5 minibody variants all demonstrated improved affinity compared to the parental (P) minibody, and were ranked as follows: A2>A11>C5>P. The 124I labeled A11 minibody demonstrated higher immunoreactivity than the parental minibody, and also achieved the best microPET imaging contrast in two xenograft models, LAPC-9 (prostate cancer) and Capan-1(pancreatic cancer), when evaluated in vivo.
Out of the affinity variant minibodies tested, the A11 minibody that ranked second in affinity was selected as the best immunoPET tracer to image PSCA expressing xenografts. This candidate is currently under development for evaluation in a pilot clinical imaging study.
PMCID: PMC2903645  PMID: 20354850
Imaging; prostate; cancer; PSCA; antibody; PET
23.  Quantum dot immunoassays in renewable surface column and 96-well plate formats for the fluorescence detection of Botulinum neurotoxin using high-affinity antibodies 
Biosensors & bioelectronics  2009;25(1):179-184.
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.
PMCID: PMC2728038  PMID: 19643593
Quantum dot; immunoassay; botulinum toxin; fluorescence
24.  Extraction of BoNT/A, /B, /E, and /F with a Single, High Affinity Monoclonal Antibody for Detection of Botulinum Neurotoxin by Endopep-MS 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12237.
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.
PMCID: PMC2923190  PMID: 20808925
25.  TSG101 exposure on the surface of HIV-1 infected cells: implications for monoclonal antibody therapy for HIV/AIDS 
HIV infection remains a major global public health problem, in part because of the ability of the virus to elude antiretroviral therapies. Most conventional drugs were designed to directly target virus-encoded mechanisms. However, there is increasing appreciation that certain host-encoded molecules are comparably important for the viral life cycle and could therefore represent potential antiviral targets. Prominent among these is TSG101, a cytoplasmic molecule that is “hijacked” by HIV and used to facilitate viral budding and release. In our present report, we demonstrate thatTSG101 is uniquely exposed on the surface of HIV-infected cells and is available to antibody-based therapies. We also characterize the development of a monoclonal antibody, CB8-2, which reduces virus production from infected cells. These studies demonstrate the potential of TSG101-directed antibodies to combat HIV/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC2923861  PMID: 20733947
TSG101; HIV; monoclonal antibody; CB8-2; HIV/AIDS therapy

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