Development of Neutralizing and Non-neutralizing Antibodies Targeting Known and Novel Epitopes of TcdB of Clostridioides difficile.
ABSTRACT: Clostridioides difficile is the causative bacterium in 15-20% of all antibiotic associated diarrheas. The symptoms associated with C. difficile infection (CDI) are primarily induced by the two large exotoxins TcdA and TcdB. Both toxins enter target cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Although different toxin receptors have been identified, it is no valid therapeutic option to prevent receptor endocytosis. Therapeutics, such as neutralizing antibodies, directly targeting both toxins are in development. Interestingly, only the anti-TcdB antibody bezlotoxumab but not the anti-TcdA antibody actoxumab prevented recurrence of CDI in clinical trials. In this work, 31 human antibody fragments against TcdB were selected by antibody phage display from the human naive antibody gene libraries HAL9/10. These antibody fragments were further characterized by in vitro neutralization assays. The epitopes of the neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibody fragments were analyzed by domain mapping, TcdB fragment phage display, and peptide arrays, to identify neutralizing and non-neutralizing epitopes. A new neutralizing epitope within the glucosyltransferase domain of TcdB was identified, providing new insights into the relevance of different toxin regions in respect of neutralization and toxicity.
Project description:The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and associated mortality have increased rapidly worldwide in recent years. Therefore, it is critical to develop new therapies for CDI. In this study, we generated a novel, potently neutralizing, tetravalent, and bispecific antibody composed of 2 heavy-chain-only VH (VHH) binding domains against both TcdA and TcdB (designated "ABA") that reverses fulminant CDI in mice infected with an epidemic 027 strain after a single injection of the antibody. We demonstrated that ABA bound to both toxins simultaneously and displayed a significantly enhanced neutralizing activity both in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, ABA was able to broadly neutralize toxins from clinical C. difficile isolates that express both TcdA and TcdB but failed to neutralize the toxin from TcdA(-)TcdB(+) C. difficile strains. This study thus provides a rationale for the development of multivalent VHHs that target both toxins and are broadly neutralizing for treating severe CDI.
Project description:The exotoxins toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB) are produced by the bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile and are responsible for the pathology associated with C. difficile infection (CDI). The antitoxin antibodies actoxumab and bezlotoxumab bind to and neutralize TcdA and TcdB, respectively. Bezlotoxumab was recently approved by the FDA for reducing the recurrence of CDI. We have previously shown that a single molecule of bezlotoxumab binds to two distinct epitopes within the TcdB combined repetitive oligopeptide (CROP) domain, preventing toxin binding to host cells. In this study, we characterize the binding of actoxumab to TcdA and examine its mechanism of toxin neutralization. Using a combination of approaches including a number of biophysical techniques, we show that there are two distinct actoxumab binding sites within the CROP domain of TcdA centered on identical amino acid sequences at residues 2162-2189 and 2410-2437. Actoxumab binding caused the aggregation of TcdA especially at higher antibody:toxin concentration ratios. Actoxumab prevented the association of TcdA with target cells demonstrating that actoxumab neutralizes toxin activity by inhibiting the first step of the intoxication cascade. This mechanism of neutralization is similar to that observed with bezlotoxumab and TcdB. Comparisons of the putative TcdA epitope sequences across several C. difficile ribotypes and homologous repeat sequences within TcdA suggest a structural basis for observed differences in actoxumab binding and/or neutralization potency. These data provide a mechanistic basis for the protective effects of the antibody in vitro and in vivo, including in various preclinical models of CDI.
Project description:Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection (CDI) is the main cause of nosocomial antibiotic-associated colitis and increased incidence of community-associated diarrhea in industrialized countries. At present, the primary treatment of CDI is antibiotic administration, which is effective but often associated with recurrence, especially in the elderly. Pathogenic strains produce enterotoxin, toxin A (TcdA), and cytotoxin, toxin B (TcdB), which are necessary for C. difficile induced diarrhea and gut pathological changes. Administration of anti-toxin antibodies provides an alternative approach to treat CDI, and has shown promising results in preclinical and clinical studies. In the current study, several humanized anti-TcdA and anti-TcdB monoclonal antibodies were generated and their protective potency was characterized in a hamster infection model. The humanized anti-TcdA (CANmAbA4) and anti-TcdB (CANmAbB4 and CANmAbB1) antibodies showed broad spectrum in vitro neutralization of toxins from clinical strains and neutralization in a mouse toxin challenge model. Moreover, co-administration of humanized antibodies (CANmAbA4 and CANmAbB4 cocktail) provided a high level of protection in a dose dependent manner (85% versus 57% survival at day 22 for 50 mg/kg and 20 mg/kg doses, respectively) in a hamster gastrointestinal infection (GI) model. This study describes the protective effects conferred by novel neutralizing anti-toxin monoclonal antibodies against C. difficile toxins and their potential as therapeutic agents in treating CDI.
Project description:Clostridium difficile infection is the leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea and is mediated by the actions of two toxins, TcdA and TcdB. The toxins perturb host cell function through a multistep process of receptor binding, endocytosis, low pH-induced pore formation, and the translocation and delivery of an N-terminal glucosyltransferase domain that inactivates host GTPases. Infection studies with isogenic strains having defined toxin deletions have established TcdB as an important target for therapeutic development. Monoclonal antibodies that neutralize TcdB function have been shown to protect against C. difficile infection in animal models and reduce recurrence in humans. Here, we report the mechanism of TcdB neutralization by PA41, a humanized monoclonal antibody capable of neutralizing TcdB from a diverse array of C. difficile strains. Through a combination of structural, biochemical, and cell functional studies, involving X-ray crystallography and EM, we show that PA41 recognizes a single, highly conserved epitope on the TcdB glucosyltransferase domain and blocks productive translocation and delivery of the enzymatic cargo into the host cell. Our study reveals a unique mechanism of C. difficile toxin neutralization by a monoclonal antibody, which involves targeting a process that is conserved across the large clostridial glucosylating toxins. The PA41 antibody described here provides a valuable tool for dissecting the mechanism of toxin pore formation and translocation across the endosomal membrane.
Project description:Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile is the most commonly recognized cause of infectious diarrhea in healthcare settings. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent initial or recurrent C. difficile infection (CDI). Two large clostridial toxins, TcdA and TcdB, are the primary virulence factors for CDI. Immunological approaches to prevent CDI include antibody-mediated neutralization of the cytotoxicity of these toxins. An understanding of the sequence diversity of the two toxins expressed by disease causing isolates is critical for the interpretation of the immune response to the toxins. In this study, we determined the whole genome sequence (WGS) of 478 C. difficile isolates collected in 12 countries between 2004 and 2018 to probe toxin variant diversity. A total of 44 unique TcdA variants and 37 unique TcdB variants were identified. The amino acid sequence conservation among the TcdA variants (?98%) is considerably greater than among the TcdB variants (as low as 86.1%), suggesting that different selection pressures may have contributed to the evolution of the two toxins. Phylogenomic analysis of the WGS data demonstrate that isolates grouped together based on ribotype or MLST code for multiple different toxin variants. These findings illustrate the importance of determining not only the ribotype but also the toxin sequence when evaluating strain coverage using vaccine strategies that target these virulence factors. We recommend that toxin variant type and sequence type (ST), be used together with ribotype data to provide a more comprehensive strain classification scheme for C. difficile surveillance during vaccine development objectives.
Project description:The exotoxins TcdA and TcdB are the major virulence factors of Clostridium difficile. Circulating neutralizing antitoxin antibodies are protective in C. difficile infection (CDI), as demonstrated, in part, by the protective effects of actoxumab and bezlotoxumab, which bind to and neutralize TcdA and TcdB, respectively. The question of how systemic IgG antibodies neutralize toxins in the gut lumen remains unresolved, although it has been suggested that the Fc receptor FcRn may be involved in active antibody transport across the gut epithelium. In this study, we demonstrated that genetic ablation of FcRn and excess irrelevant human IgG have no impact on actoxumab-bezlotoxumab-mediated protection in murine and hamster models of CDI, suggesting that Fc-dependent transport of antibodies across the gut wall is not required for efficacy. Tissue distribution studies in hamsters suggest, rather, that the transport of antibodies depends on toxin-induced damage to the gut lining. In an in vitro two-dimensional culture system that mimics the architecture of the intestinal mucosal epithelium, toxins on the apical side of epithelial cell monolayers are neutralized by basolateral antibodies, and antibody transport across the cell layer is dramatically increased upon addition of toxin to the apical side. Similar data were obtained with F(ab')2 fragments, which lack an Fc domain, consistent with FcRn-independent paracellular, rather than transcellular, transport of antibodies. Kinetic studies show that initial damage caused by apical toxin is required for efficient neutralization by basolateral antibodies. These data may represent a general mechanism of humoral response-mediated protection against enteric pathogens.
Project description:Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), a leading cause of nosocomial infection, is a serious disease in North America, Europe, and Asia. CDI varies greatly from asymptomatic carriage to life-threatening diarrhea, toxic megacolon, and toxemia. The incidence of community-acquired infection has increased due to the emergence of hypervirulent antibiotic-resistant strains. These new strains contribute to the frequent occurrence of disease relapse, complicating treatment, increasing hospital stays, and increasing morbidity and mortality among patients. Therefore, it is critical to develop new therapeutic approaches that bypass the development of antimicrobial resistance and avoid disruption of gut microflora. Here, we describe the construction of a single heteromultimeric VHH-based neutralizing agent (VNA) that targets the two primary virulence factors of Clostridium difficile, toxins A (TcdA) and B (TcdB). Designated VNA2-Tcd, this agent has subnanomolar toxin neutralization potencies for both C. difficile toxins in cell assays. When given systemically by parenteral administration, VNA2-Tcd protected against CDI in gnotobiotic piglets and mice and to a lesser extent in hamsters. Protection from CDI was also observed in gnotobiotic piglets treated by gene therapy with an adenovirus that promoted the expression of VNA2-Tcd.
Project description:Clostridium difficile causes nearly 500,000 infections and nearly 30,000 deaths each year in the U.S., which is estimated to cost $4.8 billion. C. difficile infection (CDI) arises from bacteria colonizing the large intestine and releasing two toxins, toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB). Generating humoral immunity against C. difficile's toxins provides protection against primary infection and recurrence. Thus, a vaccine may offer the best opportunity for sustained, long-term protection. We developed a novel single-cycle adenovirus (SC-Ad) vaccine against C. difficile expressing the receptor-binding domains from TcdA and TcdB. The single immunization of mice generated sustained toxin-binding antibody responses and protected them from lethal toxin challenge for up to 38 weeks. Immunized Syrian hamsters produced significant toxin-neutralizing antibodies that increased over 36 weeks. Single intramuscular immunization provided complete protection against lethal BI/NAP1/027 spore challenge 45 weeks later. These data suggest that this replicating vaccine may prove useful against CDI in humans.
Project description:Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs) are the leading cause of hospital-acquired infectious diarrhea and primarily involve two exotoxins, TcdA and TcdB. Actoxumab and bezlotoxumab are human monoclonal antibodies that neutralize the cytotoxic/cytopathic effects of TcdA and TcdB, respectively. In a phase II clinical study, the actoxumab-bezlotoxumab combination reduced the rate of CDI recurrence in patients who were also treated with standard-of-care antibiotics. However, it is not known whether the antibody combination will be effective against a broad range of C. difficile strains. As a first step toward addressing this, we tested the ability of actoxumab and bezlotoxumab to neutralize the activities of toxins from a number of clinically relevant and geographically diverse strains of C. difficile. Neutralization potencies, as measured in a cell growth/survival assay with purified toxins from various C. difficile strains, correlated well with antibody/toxin binding affinities. Actoxumab and bezlotoxumab neutralized toxins from culture supernatants of all clinical isolates tested, including multiple isolates of the BI/NAP1/027 and BK/NAP7/078 strains, at antibody concentrations well below plasma levels observed in humans. We compared the bezlotoxumab epitopes in the TcdB receptor binding domain across known TcdB sequences and found that key substitutions within the bezlotoxumab epitopes correlated with the relative differences in potencies of bezlotoxumab against TcdB of some strains, including ribotypes 027 and 078. Combined with in vitro neutralization data, epitope modeling will enhance our ability to predict the coverage of new and emerging strains by actoxumab-bezlotoxumab in the clinic.
Project description:Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are a leading cause of nosocomial diarrhea in the developed world. The main virulence factors of the bacterium are the large clostridial toxins (LCTs), TcdA and TcdB, which are largely responsible for the symptoms of the disease. Recent outbreaks of CDI have been associated with the emergence of hypervirulent strains, such as NAP1/BI/027, many strains of which also produce a third toxin, binary toxin (CDTa and CDTb). These hypervirulent strains have been associated with increased morbidity and higher mortality. Here we present pre-clinical data describing a novel tetravalent vaccine composed of attenuated forms of TcdA, TcdB and binary toxin components CDTa and CDTb. We demonstrate, using the Syrian golden hamster model of CDI, that the inclusion of binary toxin components CDTa and CDTb significantly improves the efficacy of the vaccine against challenge with NAP1 strains in comparison to vaccines containing only TcdA and TcdB antigens, while providing comparable efficacy against challenge with the prototypic, non-epidemic strain VPI10463. This combination vaccine elicits high neutralizing antibody titers against TcdA, TcdB and binary toxin in both hamsters and rhesus macaques. Finally we present data that binary toxin alone can act as a virulence factor in animal models. Taken together, these data strongly support the inclusion of binary toxin in a vaccine against CDI to provide enhanced protection from epidemic strains of C. difficile.