Isolation of Anti-Ricin Protective Antibodies Exhibiting High Affinity from Immunized Non-Human Primates.
ABSTRACT: Ricin, derived from the castor bean plant Ricinus communis, is one of the most potent and lethal toxins known, against which there is no available antidote. To date, the use of neutralizing antibodies is the most promising post-exposure treatment for ricin intoxication. The aim of this study was to isolate high affinity anti-ricin antibodies that possess potent toxin-neutralization capabilities. Two non-human primates were immunized with either a ricin-holotoxin- or subunit-based vaccine, to ensure the elicitation of diverse high affinity antibodies. By using a comprehensive set of primers, immune scFv phage-displayed libraries were constructed and panned. A panel of 10 antibodies (five directed against the A subunit of ricin and five against the B subunit) was isolated and reformatted into a full-length chimeric IgG. All of these antibodies were found to neutralize ricin in vitro, and several conferred full protection to ricin-intoxicated mice when given six hours after exposure. Six antibodies were found to possess exceptionally high affinity toward the toxin, with KD values below pM (k(off )< 1 × 10(-7) s(-1)) that were well correlated with their ability to neutralize ricin. These antibodies, alone or in combination, could be used for the development of a highly-effective therapeutic preparation for post-exposure treatment of ricin intoxication.
Project description:Ricin toxin's binding subunit (RTB) is a galactose-/N-acetylgalactosamine (Gal/GalNac)-specific lectin that mediates uptake and intracellular trafficking of ricin within mammalian cells. Structurally, RTB consists of two globular domains, each divided into three homologous sub-domains (?, ?, ?). In this report, we describe five new murine IgG monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against RTB: MH3, 8A1, 8B3, LF1, and LC5. The mAbs have similar binding affinities (KD) for ricin holotoxin, but displayed a wide range of in vitro toxin-neutralizing activities. Competition ELISAs indicate that the two most potent toxin-neutralizing mAbs (MH3, 8A1), as well as one of the moderate toxin-neutralizing mAbs (LF1), recognize distinct epitopes near the low affinity Gal recognition domain in RTB subdomain 1?. Evaluated in a mouse model of systemic ricin challenge, all five mAbs afforded some benefit against intoxication, but only MH3 was protective. However, neither MH3 nor 24B11, another well-characterized mAb against RTB subdomain 1?, could passively protect mice against a mucosal (intranasal) ricin challenge. This is in contrast to SylH3, a previously characterized mAb directed against an epitope near RTB's high affinity Gal/GalNac recognition element in sub-domain 2?, which protected animals against systemic and mucosal ricin exposure. SylH3 was significantly more effective than MH3 and 24B11 at blocking ricin attachment to host cell receptors, suggesting that mucosal immunity to ricin is best imparted by antibodies that target RTB's high affinity Gal/GalNac recognition element in subdomain 2?, not the low affinity Gal recognition domain in subdomain 1?.
Project description:Ricin toxin is an extraordinarily potent inducer of cell death and inflammation. Ricin is also a potent provocateur of the humoral immune system, eliciting a mixture of neutralizing, non-neutralizing and even toxin-enhancing antibodies. The characterization of dozens of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against the toxin's enzymatic (RTA) and binding (RTB) subunits has begun to reveal fundamental insights into the underlying mechanisms by which antibodies neutralize (or fail to neutralize) ricin in systemic and mucosal compartments. This information has had immediate applications in the design, development and evaluation of ricin subunit vaccines and immunotherapeutics.
Project description:Abrin toxin is a type 2 ribosome inactivating glycoprotein isolated from the seeds of Abrus precatorius (jequirity pea). Owing to its high toxicity, relative ease of purification and accessibility, it is considered a biological threat agent. To date, there is no effective post-exposure treatment for abrin poisoning and passive immunization remains the most effective therapy. However, the effectiveness of anti-abrin monoclonal antibodies for post-exposure therapy following abrin intoxication has not been demonstrated. The aim of this study was to isolate high affinity anti-abrin antibodies that possess potent toxin-neutralization capabilities. An immune scFv phage-display library was constructed from an abrin-immunized rabbit and a panel of antibodies (six directed against the A subunit of abrin and four against the B subunit) was isolated and expressed as scFv-Fc antibodies. By pair-wise analysis, we found that these antibodies target five distinct epitopes on the surface of abrin and that antibodies against all these sites can bind the toxin simultaneously. Several of these antibodies (namely, RB9, RB10, RB28 and RB30) conferred high protection against pulmonary intoxication of mice, when administered six hours post exposure to a lethal dose of abrin. The data presented in this study demonstrate for the first time the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies in treatment of mice after pulmonary intoxication with abrin and promote the use of these antibodies, one or several, for post-exposure treatment of abrin intoxication.
Project description:The B subunit (RTB) of ricin toxin is a galactose (Gal)-/N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNac)-specific lectin that mediates attachment, entry, and intracellular trafficking of ricin in host cells. Structurally, RTB consists of two globular domains with identical folding topologies. Domains 1 and 2 are each comprised of three homologous sub-domains (?, ?, ?) that likely arose by gene duplication from a primordial carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD), although only sub-domains 1? and 2? retain functional lectin activity. As part of our ongoing effort to generate a comprehensive B cell epitope map of ricin, we report the characterization of three new RTB-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). All three mAbs, JB4, B/J F9 and C/M A2, were initially identified based on their abilities to neutralize ricin in a Vero cell cytotoxicity assay and to partially (or completely) block ricin attachment to cell surfaces. However, only JB4 proved capable of neutralizing ricin in a macrophage apoptosis assay and in imparting passive immunity to mice in a model of systemic intoxication. Using a combination of techniques, including competitive ELISAs, pepscan analysis, differential reactivity by Western blot, as well as affinity enrichment of phage displayed peptides, we tentatively localized the epitopes recognized by the non-neutralizing mAbs B/J F9 and C/M A2 to sub-domains 2? and 2?, respectively. Furthermore, we propose that the epitope recognized by JB4 is within sub-domain 2?, adjacent to RTB's high affinity Gal/GalNAc CRD. These data suggest that recognition of RTB's sub-domains 1? and 2? are critical determinants of antibody neutralizing activity and protective immunity to ricin.
Project description:Ricin is a member of the ubiquitous family of plant and bacterial AB toxins that gain entry into the cytosol of host cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis and retrograde traffic through the trans-Golgi network (TGN) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). While a few ricin toxin-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) have been identified, the mechanisms by which these antibodies prevent toxin-induced cell death are largely unknown. Using immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and a TGN-specific sulfation assay, we demonstrate that 24B11, a MAb against ricin's binding subunit (RTB), associates with ricin in solution or when prebound to cell surfaces and then markedly enhances toxin uptake into host cells. Following endocytosis, however, toxin-antibody complexes failed to reach the TGN; instead, they were shunted to Rab7-positive late endosomes and LAMP-1-positive lysosomes. Monovalent 24B11 Fab fragments also interfered with toxin retrograde transport, indicating that neither cross-linking of membrane glycoproteins/glycolipids nor the recently identified intracellular Fc receptor is required to derail ricin en route to the TGN. Identification of the mechanism(s) by which antibodies like 24B11 neutralize ricin will advance our fundamental understanding of protein trafficking in mammalian cells and may lead to the discovery of new classes of toxin inhibitors and therapeutics for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. IMPORTANCE Ricin is the prototypic member of the AB family of medically important plant and bacterial toxins that includes cholera and Shiga toxins. Ricin is also a category B biothreat agent. Despite ongoing efforts to develop vaccines and antibody-based therapeutics against ricin, very little is known about the mechanisms by which antibodies neutralize this toxin. In general, it is thought that antibodies simply prevent toxins from attaching to cell surface receptors or promote their clearance through Fc receptor (FcR)-mediated uptake. In this report, however, we describe a neutralizing monoclonal antibody (MAb) against ricin's binding subunit (RTB) that not only associates with ricin after the toxin has bound to the cell's surface but actually enhances toxin uptake into host cells. Following endocytosis, the antibody-toxin complexes are then routed for degradation. The results of this study are important because they reveal a previously unappreciated role for B-subunit-specific antibodies in intracellular neutralization of ricin toxin.
Project description:Ricin is an A-B ribosome inactivating protein (RIP) toxin composed of an A-chain subunit (RTA) that contains a catalytic N-glycosidase and a B-chain (RTB) lectin domain that binds cell surface glycans. Ricin exploits retrograde transport to enter into the Golgi and the endoplasmic reticulum, and then dislocates into the cytoplasm where it can reach its substrate, the rRNA. A subset of isolated antibodies (Abs) raised against the RTA subunit protect against ricin intoxication, and RTA-based vaccine immunogens have been shown to provide long-lasting protective immunity against the holotoxin. Anti-RTA Abs are unlikely to cross a membrane and reach the cytoplasm to inhibit the enzymatic activity of the A-chain. Moreover, there is not a strict correlation between the apparent binding affinity (Ka) of anti-RTA Abs and their ability to successfully neutralize ricin toxicity. Some anti-RTA antibodies are toxin-neutralizing, whereas others are not. We hypothesize that neutralizing anti-RTA Abs may interfere selectively with conformational change(s) or partial unfolding required for toxin internalization. To test this hypothesis, we measured the melting temperatures (Tm) of neutralizing single-domain Ab (sdAb)-antigen (Ag) complexes relative to the Tm of the free antigen (Tm-shift = Tmcomplex - TmAg), and observed increases in the Tmcomplex of 9-20 degrees. In contrast, non-neutralizing sdAb-Ag complexes shifted the TmComplex by only 6-7 degrees. A strong linear correlation (r2 = 0.992) was observed between the magnitude of the Tm-shift and the viability of living cells treated with the sdAb and ricin holotoxin. The Tm-shift of the sdAb-Ag complex provided a quantitative biophysical parameter that could be used to predict and rank-order the toxin-neutralizing activities of Abs. We determined the first structure of an sdAb-RTA1-33/44-198 complex, and examined other sdAb-RTA complexes. We found that neutralizing sdAb bound to regions involved in the early stages of unfolding. These Abs likely interfere with steps preceding or following endocytosis that require conformational changes. This method may have utility for the characterization or rapid screening of other Ab that act to prevent conformational changes or unfolding as part of their mechanism of action.
Project description:Ricin, a highly lethal plant-derived toxin, is a potential biological threat agent due to its high availability, ease of production and the lack of approved medical countermeasures for post-exposure treatment. To date, no specific ricin receptors were identified. Here we show for the first time, that the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein-1 (LRP1) is a major target molecule for binding of ricin. Pretreating HEK293 acetylcholinesterase-producer cells with either anti-LRP1 antibodies or with Receptor-Associated Protein (a natural LRP1 antagonist), or using siRNA to knock-down LRP1 expression resulted in a marked reduction in their sensitivity towards ricin. Binding assays further demonstrated that ricin bound exclusively to the cluster II binding domain of LRP1, via the ricin B subunit. Ricin binding to the cluster II binding domain of LRP1 was significantly reduced by an anti-ricin monoclonal antibody, which confers high-level protection to ricin pulmonary-exposed mice. Finally, we tested the contribution of LRP1 receptor to ricin intoxication of lung cells derived from mice. Treating these cells with anti-LRP1 antibody prior to ricin exposure, prevented their intoxication. Taken together, our findings clearly demonstrate that the LRP1 receptor plays an important role in ricin-induced pulmonary intoxications.
Project description:Ricin toxin (RT) is derived from castor beans, produced by the plant Ricinus communis. RT and its toxic A chain (RTA) have been used therapeutically to arm ligands that target disease-causing cells. In most cases these ligands are cell-binding monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). These ligand-toxin conjugates or immunotoxins (ITs) have shown success in clinical trials . Ricin is also of concern in biodefense and has been classified by the CDC as a Class B biothreat. Virtually all reports of RT poisoning have been due to ingestion of castor beans, since they grow abundantly throughout the world and are readily available. RT is easily purified and stable, and is not difficult to weaponize. RT must be considered during any "white powder" incident and there have been documented cases of its use in espionage [2,3]. The clinical syndrome resulting from ricin intoxication is dependent upon the route of exposure. Countermeasures to prevent ricin poisoning are being developed and their use will depend upon whether military or civilian populations are at risk of exposure. In this review we will discuss ricin toxin, its cellular mode of action, the clinical syndromes that occur following exposure and the development of pre- and post-exposure approaches to prevent of intoxication.
Project description:The penultimate event in the intoxication of mammalian cells by ricin toxin is the reduction, in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), of the intermolecular disulfide bond that links ricin's enzymatic (RTA) and binding (RTB) subunits. In this report we adapted an in vitro protein disulfide isomerase (PDI)-mediated reduction assay to test the hypothesis that the RTA-specific neutralizing monoclonal antibody (mAb) IB2 interferes with the liberation of RTA from RTB. IB2 recognizes an epitope located near the interface between RTA and RTB and, like a number of other RTA-specific neutralizing mAbs, is proposed to neutralize ricin intracellularly. In this study, we found that IB2 virtually eliminated the reduction of ricin holotoxin into RTA and RTB in vitro. Surprisingly, three other neutralizing mAbs (GD12, R70 and SyH7) that bind epitopes at considerable distance from ricin's disulfide bond were as effective (or nearly as effective) as IB2 in interfering with PDI-mediated liberation of RTA from RTB. By contrast, two non-neutralizing RTA-specific mAbs, FGA12 and SB1, did not affect PDI-mediated reduction of ricin. These data reveal a possible mechanism by which RTA-specific antibodies may neutralize ricin intracellularly, provided they are capable of trafficking in association with ricin from the cell surface to the ER.
Project description:Abrin and ricin are potent AB toxins, which are considered biological threats. To date, there are no approved treatments against abrin or ricin intoxications. Previously, we showed that the administration of polyclonal anti-abrin antibodies to mice that were intranasally exposed to abrin, even very late post-exposure, conferred an exceedingly high-level of protection, while following ricin intoxication, similar treatment with anti-ricin antibodies resulted in negligible survival rates. To probe this unexpected difference in protection ability, we first examined whether the efficient anti-abrin-induced protection was due to neutralization of the A-subunit responsible for the catalytic effect, or of the B-subunit, which enables binding/internalization, by evaluating the protection conferred by antibodies directed against one of the two subunits. To this end, we generated and immunized rabbits with chimeric toxins containing a single abrin subunit, AabrinBricin in which abrin A-subunit was linked to ricin B-subunit, and AricinBabrin in which ricin A-subunit is linked to abrin B-subunit. Here, we show that antibodies raised against either AabrinBricin or AricinBabrin conferred exceptionally high protection levels to mice following intranasal exposure to a a lethal dose of abrin, suggesting that the high level of protection conferred by anti-abrin antibodies is not related to the neutralization of a particular subunit.