SiMa Cells for a Serotype Specific and Sensitive Cell-Based Neutralization Test for Botulinum Toxin A and E.
ABSTRACT: 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 neurotoxins (BoNTs), produced by neurotoxigenic clostridial species, are the cause of the severe disease botulism in humans and animals. Early research on BoNTs has led to their classification into seven serotypes (serotypes A to G) based upon the selective neutralization of their toxicity in mice by homologous antibodies. Recently, a report of a potential eighth serotype of BoNT, designated "type H," has been controversial. This novel BoNT was produced together with BoNT/B2 in a dual-toxin-producing Clostridium botulinum strain. The data used to designate this novel toxin as a new serotype were derived from culture supernatant containing both BoNT/B2 and novel toxin and from sequence information, although data from two independent laboratories indicated neutralization by antibodies raised against BoNT/A1, and classification as BoNT/FA was proposed. The sequence data indicate a chimeric structure consisting of a BoNT/A1 receptor binding domain, a BoNT/F5 light-chain domain, and a novel translocation domain most closely related to BoNT/F1. Here, we describe characterization of this toxin purified from the native strain in which expression of the second BoNT (BoNT/B) has been eliminated. Mass spectrometry analysis indicated that the toxin preparation contained only BoNT/FA and confirmed catalytic activity analogous to that of BoNT/F5. The in vivo mouse bioassay indicated a specific activity of this toxin of 3.8 × 10(7) mouse 50% lethal dose (mLD50) units/mg, whereas activity in cultured human neurons was very high (50% effective concentration [EC50] = 0.02 mLD50/well). Neutralization assays in cells and mice both indicated full neutralization by various antibodies raised against BoNT/A1, although at 16- to 20-fold-lower efficiency than for BoNT/A1. IMPORTANCE Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs), produced by anaerobic bacteria, are the cause of the potentially deadly, neuroparalytic disease botulism. BoNTs have been classified into seven serotypes, serotypes A to G, based upon their selective neutralization by homologous antiserum, which is relevant for clinical and diagnostic purposes. Even though supportive care dramatically reduces the death rate of botulism, the only pharmaceutical intervention to reduce symptom severity and recovery time is early administration of antitoxin (antiserum raised against BoNTs). A recent report of a novel BoNT serotype, serotype H, raised concern of a "treatment-resistant" and highly potent toxin. However, the toxin's chimeric structure and characteristics indicate a chimeric BoNT/FA. Here we describe the first characterization of this novel toxin in purified form. BoNT/FA was neutralized by available antitoxins, supporting classification as BoNT/FA. BoNT/FA required proteolytic activation to achieve full toxicity and had relatively low potency in mice compared to BoNT/A1 but surprisingly high activity in cultured neurons.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is the most potent natural toxin known. Of the seven BoNT serotypes (A to G), types A, B, E, and F cause human botulism. Treatment of human botulism requires the development of effective toxin-neutralizing antibodies without side effects such as serum sickness and anaphylaxis. In this study, we generated fully human monoclonal antibodies (HuMAbs) against serotype B BoNT (BoNT/B1) using a murine-human chimera fusion partner cell line named SPYMEG. Of these HuMAbs, M2, which specifically binds to the light chain of BoNT/B1, showed neutralization activity in a mouse bioassay (approximately 10 i.p. LD50/100 µg of antibody), and M4, which binds to the C-terminal of heavy chain, showed partial protection. The combination of two HuMAbs, M2 (1.25 µg) and M4 (1.25 µg), was able to completely neutralize BoNT/B1 (80 i.p. LD50) with a potency greater than 80 i.p. LD50/2.5 µg of antibodies, and was effective both prophylactically and therapeutically in the mouse model of botulism. Moreover, this combination showed broad neutralization activity against three type B subtypes, namely BoNT/B1, BoNT/B2, and BoNT/B6. These data demonstrate that the combination of M2 and M4 is promising in terms of a foundation for new human therapeutics for BoNT/B intoxication.
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:Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), the most poisonous substance known, causes naturally occurring human disease (botulism) and is one of the top six biothreat agents. Botulism is treated with polyclonal antibodies produced in horses that are associated with a high incidence of systemic reactions. Human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are under development as a safer therapy. Identifying neutralizing epitopes on BoNTs is an important step in generating neutralizing mAbs, and has implications for vaccine development. Here, we show that the three domains of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) can be displayed on the surface of yeast and used to epitope map six mAbs to the toxin domains they bind. The use of yeast obviates the need to express and purify each domain, and it should prove possible to display domains of other BoNT subtypes and serotypes for epitope mapping. Using a library of yeast-displayed BoNT/A binding domain (H(C)) mutants and selecting for loss of binding, the fine epitopes of three neutralizing BoNT/A mAbs were identified. Two mAbs bind the C-terminal subdomain of H(C), with one binding near the toxin sialoganglioside binding site. The most potently neutralizing mAb binds the N-terminal subdomain of H(C), in an area not previously thought to be functionally important. Modeling the epitopes shows how all three mAbs could bind BoNT/A simultaneously and may explain, in part, the dramatic synergy observed on in vivo toxin neutralization when these antibodies are combined. The results demonstrate how yeast display can be used for domain-level and fine mapping of conformational BoNT antibody epitopes and the mapping results identify three neutralizing BoNT/A epitopes.
Project description:The standard of treatment for botulism, equine antitoxin, is a foreign protein with associated safety issues and a short serum half-life which excludes its use as a prophylactic antitoxin and makes it a less-than-optimal therapeutic. Due to these limitations, a recombinant monoclonal antibody (mAb) product is preferable. It has been shown that combining three mAbs that bind non-overlapping epitopes leads to highly potent botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) neutralization. Recently, a triple human antibody combination for BoNT/A has demonstrated potent toxin neutralization in mouse models with no serious adverse events when tested in a Phase I clinical trial. However, a triple antibody therapeutic poses unique development and manufacturing challenges. Thus, potentially to streamline development of BoNT antitoxins, we sought to achieve the potency of multiple mAb combinations in a single IgG-based molecule that has a long serum half-life. The design, production, and testing of a single tri-epitopic IgG1-based mAb (TeAb) containing the binding sites of each of the three parental BoNT/A mAbs yielded an antibody of nearly equal potency to the combination. The approach taken here could be applied to the design and creation of other multivalent antibodies that could be used for a variety of applications, including toxin elimination.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are responsible for human botulism, a life-threatening disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally by food poisoning or colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. BoNTs have been classified as category A agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, 7 subtypes of BoNT/B were identified showing that subtypes B1 (16 strains) and B2 (32 strains) constitute the vast majority of BoNT/B strains. Neutralizing antibodies are required for the development of anti-botulism drugs to deal with the potential risk. In this study, macaques (Macaca fascicularis) were immunized with recombinant light chain (LC) or heavy chain (HC) of BoNT/B2, followed by the construction of 2 hyper-immune phage display libraries. The best single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) isolated from each library were selected according to their affinities and cross reactivity with BoNT/B1 toxin subtype. These scFvs against LC and HC were further analyzed by assessing the inhibition of in vitro endopeptidase activity of BoNT/B1 and B2 and neutralization of BoNT/B1 and B2 toxin-induced paralysis in the mouse ex vivo phrenic nerve assay. The antibodies B2-7 (against HC) and BLC3 (against LC) were produced as scFv-Fc, and, when tested individually, neutralized BoNT/B1 and BoNT/B2 in a mouse ex vivo phrenic nerve assay. Whereas only scFv-Fc BLC3 alone protected mice against BoNT/B2-induced paralysis in vivo, when B2-7 and BLC3 were combined they exhibited potent synergistic protection. The present study provided an opportunity to assess the extent of antibody-mediated neutralization of BoNT/B1 and BoNT/B2 subtypes in ex vivo and in vitro assays, and to confirm the benefit of the synergistic effect of antibodies targeting the 2 distinct functional domains of the toxin in vivo. Notably, the framework regions of the most promising antibodies (B2-7 and BLC3) are close to the human germline sequences, which suggest that they may be well tolerated in potential clinical development.
Project description:Only Clostridium botulinum strain IBCA10-7060 produces the recently described novel botulinum neurotoxin type H (BoNT/H). BoNT/H (N-terminal two-thirds most homologous to BoNT/F and C-terminal one-third most homologous to BoNT/A) requires antitoxin to toxin ratios ?1190:1 for neutralization by existing antitoxins. Hence, more potent and safer antitoxins against BoNT/H are needed.We therefore evaluated our existing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to BoNT/A and BoNT/F for BoNT/H binding, created yeast-displayed mutants to select for higher-affinity-binding mAbs by using flow cytometry, and evaluated the mAbs' ability to neutralize BoNT/H in the standard mouse bioassay.Anti-BoNT/A HCC-binding mAbs RAZ1 and CR2 bound BoNT/H with high affinity. However, only 1 of 6 BoNT/F mAbs (4E17.2A) bound BoNT/H but with an affinity >800-fold lower (equilibrium dissociation binding constant [KD] = 7.56 × 10(-8)M) than its BoNT/F affinity (KD= 9.1 × 10(-11)M), indicating that the N-terminal two-thirds of BoNT/H is immunologically unique. The affinity of 4E17.2A for BoNT/H was increased >500-fold to KD= 1.48 × 10(-10)M (mAb 4E17.2D). A combination of mAbs RAZ1, CR2, and 4E17.2D completely protected mice challenged with 280 mouse median lethal doses of BoNT/H at a mAb dose as low as 5 µg of total antibody.This 3-mAb combination potently neutralized BoNT/H and represents a potential human antitoxin that could be developed for the prevention and treatment of type H botulism.
Project description: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 neurotoxins (BoNT) are potential biothreat agents due to their high lethality, potency, and ease of distribution, thus the development of antitoxins is a high priority to the US government. This study examined pre-clinical pharmacokinetic studies in rats of four oligoclonal anti-BoNT mAb-based therapeutics (NTM-1631, NTM-1632, NTM-1633, NTM-1634) for five BoNT serotypes (A, B, E, C, and D). NTM-1631, NTM-1632, and NTM-1633 each consist of three IgG1 mAbs, each with a distinct human or humanized variable region which bind to distinct epitopes on BoNT serotype A, B, or E respectively. NTM-1634 consists of four human immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) mAbs binding BoNT C/D mosaic toxins. The mechanism of these antitoxins requires that three antibodies simultaneously bind toxin to achieve rapid clearance. Rats (total 378) displayed no adverse clinical signs attributed to antibody treatment from any of the antitoxins. Pharmacokinetic evaluation demonstrated that the individual mAbs are slowly eliminated, exhibiting dose-dependent exposure and long elimination half-lives ranging from 6.5 days to 10 days. There were no consistent differences observed between males and females or among the individual antibodies in each formulation in half-life. Anti-drug antibodies (ADA) were observed, as expected for human antibodies administered to rats. The results presented were used to support the clinical investigation of antibody-based botulism antitoxins.
Project description:Botulinum neurotoxin serotype C (BoNT/C) is a neuroparalytic toxin associated with outbreaks of animal botulism, particularly in birds, and is the only BoNT known to cleave two different SNARE proteins, SNAP-25 and syntaxin. BoNT/C was shown to be a good substitute for BoNT/A1 in human dystonia therapy because of its long lasting effects and absence of neuromuscular damage. Two triple mutants of BoNT/C, namely BoNT/C S51T/R52N/N53P (BoNT/C ?-51) and BoNT/C L200W/M221W/I226W (BoNT/C ?-3W), were recently reported to selectively cleave syntaxin and have been used here to evaluate the individual contribution of SNAP-25 and syntaxin cleavage to the effect of BoNT/C in vivo. Although BoNT/C ?-51 and BoNT/C ?-3W toxins cleave syntaxin with similar efficiency, we unexpectedly found also cleavage of SNAP-25, although to a lesser extent than wild type BoNT/C. Interestingly, the BoNT/C mutants exhibit reduced lethality compared to wild type toxin, a result that correlated with their residual activity against SNAP-25. In spite of this, a local injection of BoNT/C ?-51 persistently impairs neuromuscular junction activity. This is due to an initial phase in which SNAP-25 cleavage causes a complete blockade of neurotransmission, and to a second phase of incomplete impairment ascribable to syntaxin cleavage. Together, these results indicate that neuroparalysis of BoNT/C at the neuromuscular junction is due to SNAP-25 cleavage, while the proteolysis of syntaxin provides a substantial, but incomplete, neuromuscular impairment. In light of this evidence, we discuss a possible clinical use of BoNT/C ?-51 as a botulinum neurotoxin endowed with a wide safety margin and a long lasting effect.