A novel strategy for development of recombinant antitoxin therapeutics tested in a mouse botulism model.
ABSTRACT: Antitoxins are needed that can be produced economically with improved safety and shelf life compared to conventional antisera-based therapeutics. Here we report a practical strategy for development of simple antitoxin therapeutics with substantial advantages over currently available treatments. The therapeutic strategy employs a single recombinant 'targeting agent' that binds a toxin at two unique sites and a 'clearing Ab' that binds two epitopes present on each targeting agent. Co-administration of the targeting agent and the clearing Ab results in decoration of the toxin with up to four Abs to promote accelerated clearance. The therapeutic strategy was applied to two Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotypes and protected mice from lethality in two different intoxication models with an efficacy equivalent to conventional antitoxin serum. Targeting agents were a single recombinant protein consisting of a heterodimer of two camelid anti-BoNT heavy-chain-only Ab V(H) (VHH) binding domains and two E-tag epitopes. The clearing mAb was an anti-E-tag mAb. By comparing the in vivo efficacy of treatments that employed neutralizing vs. non-neutralizing agents or the presence vs. absence of clearing Ab permitted unprecedented insight into the roles of toxin neutralization and clearance in antitoxin efficacy. Surprisingly, when a post-intoxication treatment model was used, a toxin-neutralizing heterodimer agent fully protected mice from intoxication even in the absence of clearing Ab. Thus a single, easy-to-produce recombinant protein was as efficacious as polyclonal antiserum in a clinically-relevant mouse model of botulism. This strategy should have widespread application in antitoxin development and other therapies in which neutralization and/or accelerated clearance of a serum biomolecule can offer therapeutic benefit.
Project description:Botulinum toxins, i.e. BoNT/A to/G, include the most toxic substances known. Since botulism is a potentially fatal neuroparalytic disease with possible use as a biowarfare weapon (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention category A bioterrorism agent), intensive efforts are being made to develop vaccines or neutralizing antibodies. The use of active fragments from non-human immunoglobulins (F(ab')(2), Fab', scFv), chemically modified or not, may avoid side effects, but also largely modify the in vivo half-life and effectiveness of these reagents. We evaluated the neutralizing activity of several monoclonal anti-BoNT/A antibodies (mAbs). F(ab')(2) fragments, native or treated with polyethyleneglycol (PEG), were prepared from selected mAbs to determine their half-life and neutralizing activity as compared with the initial mAbs. We compared the protective efficiency of the different biochemical forms of anti-toxin mAbs providing the same neutralizing activity. Among fourteen tested mAbs, twelve exhibited neutralizing activity. Fragments from two of the best mAbs (TA12 and TA17), recognizing different epitopes, were produced. These two mAbs neutralized the A1 subtype of the toxin more efficiently than the A2 or A3 subtypes. Since mAb TA12 and its fragments both exhibited the greatest neutralizing activity, they were further evaluated in the therapeutic experiments. These showed that, in a mouse model, a 2- to 4-h interval between toxin and antitoxin injection allows the treatment to remain effective, but also suggested an absence of correlation between the half-life of the antitoxins and the length of time before treatment after botulinum toxin A contamination. These experiments demonstrate that PEG treatment has a strong impact on the half-life of the fragments, without affecting the effectiveness of neutralization, which was maintained after preparation of the fragments. These reagents may be useful for rapid treatment after botulinum toxin A contamination.
Project description:Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a major cause of severe food-borne disease worldwide, and two Shiga toxins, Stx1 and Stx2, are primarily responsible for the serious disease consequence, hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Here we report identification of a panel of heavy-chain-only antibody (Ab) V(H) (VHH) domains that neutralize Stx1 and/or Stx2 in cell-based assays. VHH heterodimer toxin-neutralizing agents containing two linked Stx1-neutralizing VHHs or two Stx2-neutralizing VHHs were generally much more potent at Stx neutralization than a pool of the two-component monomers tested in cell-based assays and in vivo mouse models. We recently reported that clearance of toxins can be promoted by coadministering a VHH-based toxin-neutralizing agent with an antitag monoclonal antibody (MAb), called the "effector Ab," that indirectly decorates each toxin molecule with four Ab molecules. Decoration occurs because the Ab binds to a common epitopic tag present at two sites on each of the two VHH heterodimer molecules that bind to each toxin molecule. Here we show that coadministration of effector Ab substantially improved the efficacy of Stx toxin-neutralizing agents to prevent death or kidney damage in mice following challenge with Stx1 or Stx2. A single toxin-neutralizing agent consisting of a double-tagged VHH heterotrimer--one Stx1-specific VHH, one Stx2-specific VHH, and one Stx1/Stx2 cross-specific VHH--was effective in preventing all symptoms of intoxication from Stx1 and Stx2 when coadministered with effector Ab. Overall, the availability of simple, defined, recombinant proteins that provide cost-effective protection against HUS opens up new therapeutic approaches to managing disease.
Project description:Current therapies for most acute toxin exposures are limited to administration of polyclonal antitoxin serum. We have shown that VHH-based neutralizing agents (VNAs) consisting of two or more linked, toxin-neutralizing heavy-chain-only VH domains (VHHs), each binding distinct epitopes, can potently protect animals from lethality in several intoxication models including Botulinum neurotoxin serotype A1 (BoNT/A1). Appending a 14 amino acid albumin binding peptide (ABP) to an anti-BoNT/A1 heterodimeric VNA (H7/B5) substantially improved serum stability and resulted in an effective VNA serum half-life of 1 to 2 days. A recombinant, replication-incompetent, adenoviral vector (Ad/VNA-BoNTA) was engineered that induces secretion of biologically active VNA, H7/B5/ABP (VNA-BoNTA), from transduced cells. Mice administered a single dose of Ad/VNA-BoNTA, or a different Ad/VNA, via different administration routes led to a wide range of VNA serum levels measured four days later; generally intravenous > intraperitoneal > intramuscular > subcutaneous. Ad/VNA-BoNTA treated mice were 100% protected from 10 LD50 of BoNT/A1 for more than six weeks and protection positively correlated with serum levels of VNA-BoNTA exceeding about 5 ng/ml. Some mice developed antibodies that inhibited VNA binding to target but these mice displayed no evidence of kidney damage due to deposition of immune complexes. Mice were also successfully protected from 10 LD50 BoNT/A1 when Ad/VNA-BoNTA was administered up to 1.5 hours post-intoxication, demonstrating rapid appearance of the protective VNA in serum following treatment. Genetic delivery of VNAs promises to be an effective method of providing prophylactic protection and/or acute treatments for many toxin-mediated diseases.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is one of the most acutely lethal toxins known to humans, and effective treatment for BoNT intoxication is urgently needed. Single-domain antibodies (VHH) have been examined as a countermeasure for BoNT because of their high stability and ease of production. Here, we investigate the structures and the neutralization mechanisms for six unique VHHs targeting BoNT/A1 or BoNT/B1. These studies reveal diverse neutralizing mechanisms by which VHHs prevent host receptor binding or block transmembrane delivery of the BoNT protease domain. Guided by this knowledge, we design heterodimeric VHHs by connecting two neutralizing VHHs via a flexible spacer so they can bind simultaneously to the toxin. These bifunctional VHHs display much greater potency in a mouse co-intoxication model than similar heterodimers unable to bind simultaneously. Taken together, our studies offer insight into antibody neutralization of BoNTs and advance our ability to design multivalent anti-pathogen VHHs with improved therapeutic properties.
Project description:The receptor binding domain of botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), also designated the C terminus of the heavy chain (H(C)), is a promising vaccine candidate against botulism. In this study, a highly efficient expression system for the protein was developed in Escherichia coli, which provided yields that were 1 order of magnitude higher than those reported to date (350 mg H(C) per liter). The product was highly immunogenic, protecting mice from a challenge with 10(5) 50% lethal dose (LD(50)) after a single vaccination and generating a neutralizing titer of 49.98 IU/ml after three immunizations. In addition, a single boost with HC increased neutralizing titers by up to 1 order of magnitude in rabbits hyperimmunized against toxoid. Moreover, we demonstrate here for the first time in vivo inhibition of BoNT/A intoxication by H(C)/A, presumably due to a blockade of the neurotoxin protein receptor SV2. Administration of HC/A delayed the time to death from 10.4 to 27.3 h in mice exposed to a lethal dose of BoNT/A (P = 0.0005). Since BoNT/A and BoNT/E partially share SV2 isoforms as their protein receptors, the ability of H(C)/A to cross-inhibit BoNT/E intoxication was evaluated. The administration of H(C)/A together with BoNT/E led to 50% survival and significantly delayed the time to death for the nonsurviving mice (P = 0.003). Furthermore, a combination of H(C)/A and a subprotective dose of antitoxin E fully protected mice against 850 mouse LD(50) of BoNT/E, suggesting complementary mechanisms of protection consisting of toxin neutralization by antibodies and receptor blocking by H(C)/A.
Project description:Antibody treatment is currently the only available countermeasure for botulism, a fatal illness caused by flaccid paralysis of muscles due to botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) intoxication. Among the seven major serotypes of BoNT/A-G, BoNT/A poses the most serious threat to humans because of its high potency and long duration of action. Prior to entering neurons and blocking neurotransmitter release, BoNT/A recognizes motoneurons via a dual-receptor binding process in which it engages both the neuron surface polysialoganglioside (PSG) and synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2 (SV2). Previously, we identified a potent neutralizing antitoxin against BoNT/A1 termed ciA-C2, derived from a camelid heavy-chain-only antibody (VHH). In this study, we demonstrate that ciA-C2 prevents BoNT/A1 intoxication by inhibiting its binding to neuronal receptor SV2. Furthermore, we determined the crystal structure of ciA-C2 in complex with the receptor-binding domain of BoNT/A1 (HCA1) at 1.68?Å resolution. The structure revealed that ciA-C2 partially occupies the SV2-binding site on HCA1, causing direct interference of HCA1 interaction with both the N-glycan and peptide-moiety of SV2. Interestingly, this neutralization mechanism is similar to that of a monoclonal antibody in clinical trials, despite that ciA-C2 is more than 10-times smaller. Taken together, these results enlighten our understanding of BoNT/A1 interactions with its neuronal receptor, and further demonstrate that inhibiting toxin binding to the host receptor is an efficient countermeasure strategy.
Project description:Ricin is a type II ribosome-inactivating toxin that catalytically inactivates ribosomes ultimately leading to cell death. The toxicity of ricin along with the prevalence of castor beans (its natural source) has led to its increased notoriety and incidences of nefarious use. Despite these concerns, there are no licensed therapies available for treating ricin intoxication. Here, we describe the development of a F(ab')? polyclonal ovine antitoxin against ricin and demonstrate the efficacy of a single, post-exposure, administration in an in vivo murine model of intoxication against aerosolised ricin. We found that a single dose of antitoxin afforded a wide window of opportunity for effective treatment with 100% protection observed in mice challenged with aerosolised ricin when given 24 h after exposure to the toxin and 75% protection when given at 30 h. Treated mice had reduced weight loss and clinical signs of intoxication compared to the untreated control group. Finally, using imaging flow cytometry, it was found that both cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking of ricin toxin to the Golgi apparatus was reduced in the presence of the antitoxin suggesting both actions can contribute to the therapeutic mechanism of a polyclonal antitoxin. Collectively, the research highlights the significant potential of the ovine F(ab')? antitoxin as a treatment for ricin intoxication.
Project description:Botulinum toxins (BoNTs), of which there are seven serotypes, are among the most potent neurotoxins, with serotypes A, B and E causing human botulism. Antitoxins form the first line of treatment for botulism, and functional, highly sensitive in vitro methods for toxin neutralization are needed to replace the current in vivo methods used for determination of antitoxin potency. In this preliminary proof of concept study, we report the development of a neutralization test using the neuroblastoma SiMa cell line. The assay is serotype specific for either BoNT/A or BoNT/E, which both cleave unique sequences on SNAP-25 within SiMa cells. The end point is simple immunodetection of cleaved SNAP-25 from cell lysates with antibodies detecting only the newly exposed sequence on SNAP-25. Neutralizing antibodies prevent the toxin-induced cleavage of SNAP-25. The toxin neutralization assay, with an EC50 of ~2 mIU/mL determined with a standardized reference antiserum, is more sensitive than the mouse bioassays. Relevance was demonstrated with commercial and experimental antitoxins targeting different functional domains, and of known in vivo neutralizing activities. This is the first report describing a simple, specific, in vitro cell-based assay for the detection of neutralizing antibodies against BoNT/A and BoNT/E with a sensitivity exceeding that of the mouse bioassay.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotype E is one of three serotypes that cause the preponderance of human botulism cases and is a Tier 1 Select Agent. BoNT/E is unusual among BoNT serotypes for its rapid onset and short duration of intoxication. Here we report two large panels of unique, unrelated camelid single-domain antibodies (VHHs) that were selected for their ability to bind to BoNT/E holotoxin and/or to the BoNT/E light chain protease domain (LC/E). The 19 VHHs which bind to BoNT/E were characterized for their subunit specificity and 8 VHHs displayed the ability to neutralize BoNT/E intoxication of neurons. Heterodimer antitoxins consisting of two BoNT/E-neutralizing VHHs, including one heterodimer designed using structural information for simultaneous binding, were shown to protect mice against co-administered toxin challenges of up to 500 MIPLD50. The 22 unique VHHs which bind to LC/E were characterized for their binding properties and 9 displayed the ability to inhibit LC/E protease activity. Surprisingly, VHHs selected on plastic-coated LC/E were virtually unable to recognize soluble or captured LC/E while VHHs selected on captured LC/E were poorly able to recognize LC/E coated to a plastic surface. This panel of anti-LC/E VHHs offer insight into BoNT/E function, and some may have value as components of therapeutic antidotes that reverse paralysis following BoNT/E exposures.
Project description:Botulium neurotoxins (BoNTs) are among the most lethal toxins known to man. They are comprised of seven serotypes with BoNT/A being the most deadly; yet, there is no approved therapeutic for their intoxication or one that has even advanced to clinical trials. Botulinum neurotoxicity is ultimately governed through light chain (LC) protease SNARE protein cleavage leading to a loss of neurotransmitter release. Pharmacological attempts to ablate BoNT/A intoxication have sought to either nullify cellular toxin entry or critical biochemical junctions found within its intricate mechanism of action. In these regards, reports have surfaced of nonpeptidic small molecule inhibitors, but few have demonstrated efficacy in neutralizing cellular toxicity, a key prerequisite before rodent lethality studies can be initiated. On the basis of a lead discovered in our BoNT/A cellular assay campaign, we investigated a family of N-hydroxysuccinimide inhibitors grounded upon structure activity relationship (SAR) fundamentals. Molecules stemming from this SAR exercise were theorized to be protease inhibitors. However, this proposition was overturned on the basis of extensive kinetic analysis. Unexpectedly, inhibitor data pointed to thioredoxin reductase (TrxR), an essential component required for BoNT protease translocation. Also unforeseen was the inhibitors' mechanism of action against TrxR, which was found to be brokered through a suicide-mechanism utilizing quinone methide as the inactivating element. This new series of TrxR inhibitors provides an alternative means to negate the etiological agent responsible for BoNT intoxication, the LC protease.