A Cell-Based Internalization and Degradation Assay with an Activatable Fluorescence-Quencher Probe as a Tool for Functional Antibody Screening.
ABSTRACT: For the development of therapeutically potent anti-cancer antibody drugs, it is often important to identify antibodies that internalize into cells efficiently, rather than just binding to antigens on the cell surface. Such antibodies can mediate receptor endocytosis, resulting in receptor downregulation on the cell surface and potentially inhibiting receptor function and tumor growth. Also, efficient antibody internalization is a prerequisite for the delivery of cytotoxic drugs into target cells and is critical for the development of antibody-drug conjugates. Here we describe a novel activatable fluorescence-quencher pair to quantify the extent of antibody internalization and degradation in the target cells. In this assay, candidate antibodies were labeled with a fluorescent dye and a quencher. Fluorescence is inhibited outside and on the surface of cells, but activated upon endocytosis and degradation of the antibody. This assay enabled the development of a process for rapid characterization of candidate antibodies potentially in a high-throughput format. By employing an activatable secondary antibody, primary antibodies in purified form or in culture supernatants can be screened for internalization and degradation. Because purification of candidate antibodies is not required, this method represents a direct functional screen to identify antibodies that internalize efficiently early in the discovery process.
Project description:Coupling drug carriers to antibodies for targeting endothelial cells (ECs) may improve treatment of vascular and pulmonary diseases. Selecting antibodies that deliver carriers to the cell surface or intracellularly may further optimize specificity of interventions. We studied antibody-directed targeting of nanocarriers to platelet-endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM)-1, an endothelial glycoprotein containing 6 Ig-like extracellular domains. PECAM-1 antibodies bind to ECs without internalization, but ECs internalize by endocytosis nanocarriers carrying multiple copies of anti-PECAM (anti-PECAM/NCs). To determine whether binding and intracellular transport of anti-PECAM/NCs depend on the epitope engaged, we targeted five PECAM-1 epitopes: mAb35, mAb37 and mAb62 (membrane-distal Ig domain 1), mAbGi34 (Ig domains 2/3), and mAb4G6 (membrane-proximal Ig domain 6). The antibodies bound to ECs regardless of the epitope proximity to the plasmalemma, whereas 130 nm diameter nanocarriers only targeted effectively distal domains (mAb4G6/NCs did not bind to ECs). ECs internalized mAb35, mAb62, and mAbGi34 carriers regardless of their size (0.13 to 5 microm diameter), yet they did not internalize mAb37/NCs. After internalization, mAb62/NCs trafficked to lysosomes within 2-3 h, whereas mAb35/NCs had prolonged residence in pre-lysosomal vesicles. Therefore, endothelial binding, endocytosis, and intracellular transport of anti-PECAM/NCs are epitope-specific. This paradigm will guide the design of endothelial drug delivery systems providing specific cellular localizations.
Project description:Many forms of antibody-based targeted therapeutics, including antibody drug conjugates, utilize the internalizing function of the targeting antibody to gain intracellular entry into tumor cells. Ideal antibodies for developing such therapeutics should be capable of both tumor-selective binding and efficient endocytosis. The macropinocytosis pathway is capable of both rapid and bulk endocytosis, and recent studies have demonstrated that it is selectively up-regulated by cancer cells. We hypothesize that receptor-dependent macropinocytosis can be achieved using tumor-targeting antibodies that internalize via the macropinocytosis pathway, improving potency and selectivity of the antibody-based targeted therapeutic. Although phage antibody display libraries have been utilized to find antibodies that bind and internalize to target cells, no methods have been described to screen for antibodies that internalize specifically via macropinocytosis. We hereby describe a novel screening strategy to identify phage antibodies that bind and rapidly enter tumor cells via macropinocytosis. We utilized an automated microscopic imaging-based, High Content Analysis platform to identify novel internalizing phage antibodies that colocalize with macropinocytic markers from antibody libraries that we have generated previously by laser capture microdissection-based selection, which are enriched for internalizing antibodies binding to tumor cells in situ residing in their tissue microenvironment (Ruan, W., Sassoon, A., An, F., Simko, J. P., and Liu, B. (2006) Identification of clinically significant tumor antigens by selecting phage antibody library on tumor cells in situ using laser capture microdissection. Mol. Cell. Proteomics. 5, 2364-2373). Full-length human IgG molecules derived from macropinocytosing phage antibodies retained the ability to internalize via macropinocytosis, validating our screening strategy. The target antigen for a cross-species binding antibody with a highly active macropinocytosis activity was identified as ephrin type-A receptor 2. Antibody-toxin conjugates created using this macropinocytosing IgG were capable of potent and receptor-dependent killing of a panel of EphA2-positive tumor cell lines in vitro. These studies identify novel methods to screen for and validate antibodies capable of receptor-dependent macropinocytosis, allowing further exploration of this highly efficient and tumor-selective internalization pathway for targeted therapy development.
Project description:A number of antibodies have been developed that induce lethal iron deprivation (LID) by targeting the transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1/CD71) and either neutralizing transferrin (Tf) binding, blocking internalization of the receptor and/or inducing its degradation. We have developed recombinant antibodies targeting human TfR1 (ch128.1 and ch128.1Av), which induce receptor degradation and are cytotoxic to certain malignant B-cells. We now show that internalization of TfR1 bound to these antibodies can lead to its sequestration and degradation, as well as reduced Tf uptake, and the induction of a transcriptional response consistent with iron deprivation, which is mediated in part by downstream targets of p53. Cells resistant to these antibodies do not sequester and degrade TfR1 after internalization of the antibody/receptor complex, and accordingly maintain their ability to internalize Tf. These findings are expected to facilitate the rational design and clinical use of therapeutic agents targeting iron import via TfR1 in hematopoietic malignancies.
Project description:The emergence of fluorescently labeled therapeutic antibodies has given rise to molecular probes for image-guided surgery. However, the extraneous interstitial presence of an unbound and nonspecifically accumulated probe gives rise to false-positive detection of tumor tissue and margins. Thus, the concept of tumor-cell activation of smart probes provides a potentially superior mechanism of delineating tumor margins as well as small tumor deposits. The combination of molecular targeting with intracellular activation circumvents the presence of extracellular, nonspecific signals of targeted probe accumulation. Here, we present a demonstration of the clinical antibodies cetuximab (cet, anti-EGFR mAb) and trastuzumab (trast, anti-HER-2 mAb) conjugated to Alexa Fluor molecules and IRDye QC-1 quencher optimized at the ratio of 1?2?6 to provide the greatest degree of proteolytic fluorescence activation, synonymous with intracellular lysosomal degradation. The cet-AF-Q-C1 conjugate (1?2?6) provides up to 9.8-fold proteolytic fluorescence activation. By preparing a spectrally distinct, irrelevant sham IgG-AF-QC-1 conjugate, a dual-activatable probe approach is shown to enhance the specificity of imaging within an orthotopic AsPC-1 pancreatic cancer xenograft model. The dual-activatable approach warrants expedited clinical translation to improve the specificity of image-guided surgery by spectrally decomposing specific from nonspecific probe accumulation, binding, and internalization.
Project description:A disulfide-bridged cyclic RGD peptide, named iRGD (internalizing RGD, c(CRGDK/RGPD/EC)), is known to facilitate tumor targeting as well as tissue penetration. After the RGD motif-induced targeting on ?v integrins expressed near tumor tissue, iRGD encounters proteolytic cleavage to expose the CendR motif that promotes penetration into cancer cells via the interaction with neuropilin-1. Based on these proteolytic cleavage and internalization mechanism, we designed an iRGD-based monolithic imaging probe that integrates multiple functions (cancer-specific targeting, internalization and fluorescence activation) within a small peptide framework. To provide the capability of activatable fluorescence signaling, we conjugated a fluorescent dye to the N-terminal of iRGD, which was linked to the internalizing sequence (CendR motif), and a quencher to the opposite C-terminal. It turned out that fluorescence activation of the dye/quencher-conjugated monolithic peptide probe requires dual (reductive and proteolytic) cleavages on both disulfide and amide bond of iRGD peptide. Furthermore, the cleavage of the iRGD peptide leading to fluorescence recovery was indeed operative depending on the tumor-related angiogenic receptors (?v?3 integrin and neuropilin-1) in vitro as well as in vivo. Compared to an 'always fluorescent' iRGD control probe without quencher conjugation, the dye/quencher-conjugated activatable monolithic peptide probe visualized tumor regions more precisely with lower background noise after intravenous injection, owing to the multifunctional responses specific to tumor microenvironment. All these results, along with minimal in vitro and in vivo toxicity profiles, suggest potential of the iRGD-based activatable monolithic peptide probe as a promising imaging agent for precise tumor diagnosis.
Project description:Degradation of the cartilage proteoglycan aggrecan is one of the earliest events that occurs in association with osteoarthritis. Little is known concerning the fate of the residual N-terminal G1 domains of cleaved aggrecan; domains that remain bound to hyaluronan. In this study, 68-72-kDa bands representative of aggrecan G1 domains containing ITEGE(373) neoepitope were detected within a hyaluronidase-sensitive pool at the cell surface of bovine articular chondrocytes and within a hyaluronidase-insensitive, intracellular pool. To determine the mechanisms that contribute to this distribution, CD44 expression was knocked down by siRNA or function by CD44-DN. Both approaches prevented the retention and internalization of G1-ITEGE. Inhibition of CD44 transit into lipid rafts blocked the endocytosis of G1-ITEGE but not the retention at the cell surface. Chondrocytes derived from CD44 null mice also exhibited limited potential for retention and internalization of G1-VTEGE. The consequence of a lack of chondrocyte-mediated endocytosis of these domains in cartilage of the CD44 null mice was the accumulation of the degradation fragments within the tissue. Additionally, chondrocytes or fibroblasts derived from CD44 null mice exhibited little capacity for retention and internalization of exogenous G1-ITEGE derived from bovine cartilage explants. Bovine or wild type mouse fibroblasts were able to bind and internalize bovine-derived G1-ITEGE. Although several pathways are available for the clearance of these domains, CD44-mediated cellular internalization is the most prominent.
Project description:The receptor tyrosine kinase HER2 is associated with a number of human malignancies and is an important therapeutic target. The antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1; Kadcyla® ) is recommended as a first-line treatment for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. T-DM1 combines the antibody-induced effects of the anti-HER2 antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin® ) with the cytotoxic effect of the tubulin inhibitor mertansine (DM1). For DM1 to have effect, the T-DM1-HER2 complex has to be internalized and the trastuzumab part of T-DM1 has to be degraded. HER2 is, however, considered endocytosis-resistant. As a result of this, trastuzumab is only internalized to a highly limited extent, and if internalized, it is rapidly recycled. The exact reasons for the endocytosis resistance of HER2 are not clear, but it is stabilized by heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and Hsp90 inhibitors induce internalization and degradation of HER2. HER2 can also be internalized upon activation of protein kinase C, and contrary to trastuzumab alone, the combination of two or more anti-HER2 antibodies can induce efficient internalization and degradation of HER2. With intention to find ways to improve the action of T-DM1, we investigated how different ways of inducing HER2 internalization leads to degradation of trastuzumab. The results show that although both Hsp90 inhibition and activation of protein kinase C induce internalization of trastuzumab, only Hsp90 inhibition induces degradation. Furthermore, we find that antibody internalization and degradation are increased when trastuzumab is combined with the clinically approved anti-HER2 antibody pertuzumab (Perjeta® ).
Project description:Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules (MHC-II) function by binding antigenic peptides and displaying these peptides on the surface of antigen presenting cells (APCs) for recognition by peptide-MHC-II (pMHC-II)-specific CD4 T cells. It is known that cell surface MHC-II can internalize, exchange antigenic peptides in endosomes, and rapidly recycle back to the plasma membrane; however, the molecular machinery and trafficking pathways utilized by internalizing/recycling MHC-II have not been identified. We now demonstrate that unlike newly synthesized invariant chain-associated MHC-II, mature cell surface pMHC-II complexes internalize following clathrin-, AP-2-, and dynamin-independent endocytosis pathways. Immunofluorescence microscopy of MHC-II expressing HeLa-CIITA cells, human B cells, and human DCs revealed that pMHC enters Arf6(+)Rab35(+)EHD1(+) tubular endosomes following endocytosis. These data contrast the internalization pathways followed by newly synthesized and peptide-loaded MHC-II molecules and demonstrates that cell surface pMHC-II internalize and rapidly recycle from early endocytic compartments in tubular endosomes.
Project description:Dendritic cells efficiently internalize exogenous protein antigens by fluid-phase uptake and receptor-mediated endocytosis. Such antigens contribute to cross-presentation by being translocated into the cytosol for proteasomal degradation, which liberates immunogenic peptides that can bind to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules after being transported into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). MHC class I-peptide complexes are then expressed on the cell surface and presented to CD8+ T cells. Here we show that internalized proteins can have an alternative fate. After internalization, proteins are first unfolded to allow translocation into the cytosol using a pathway related to ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Subsequently the unfolded proteins can undergo cytosolic refolding assisted by the chaperone Hsp90. These observations not only clarify the cellular processes regulating cytosolic access following endocytosis, but also demonstrate that functional proteins can potentially regain their activity in the cytosol of dendritic cells.
Project description:The delivery of active proteins into cells (protein transfection) for biological purposes offers considerable potential for clinical applications. Herein we demonstrate that, with a readily available, inexpensive organic agent, the 4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid (HEPES) method can be used for simple and efficient protein transfection. By mixing proteins with a pure HEPES solution before they are applied to live cells, proteins with various molecular weights (including antibodies, recombinant proteins, and peptides) were successfully delivered into the cytoplasm of different cell types. The protein transfection efficiency of the HEPES method was not inferior to that of commercially available systems that are both more expensive and time consuming. Studies using endocytotic inhibitors and endosomal markers have revealed that cells internalize HEPES-protein mixtures through endocytosis. Results that HEPES-protein mixtures exhibited a low diffusion coefficient suggest that HEPES might neutralize the charges of proteins and, thus, facilitate their cellular internalization. Upon internalization, the cytosolic antibodies caused the degradation of targeted proteins in TRIM21-expressing cells. In summary, the HEPES method is efficient for protein transfection and has potential for myriad clinical applications.