Development of N-glycan specific plant produced antibody therapeutics for a fine-tuned immune response
Antibodies are naturally occurring proteins that protect a host during infection through direct neutralization and/or recruitment of the innate immune system. Unfortunately, in some infections, antibodies present unique hurdles that must be overcome for a safer and more efficacious antibody-based therapeutic (e.g., antibody dependent viral enhancement (ADE) and inflammatory pathology). This dissertation describes the utilization of plant expression systems to produce N-glycan specific antibody-based therapeutics for Dengue Virus (DENV) and Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV). The Fc region of an antibody interacts with Fcγ Receptors (FcγRs) on immune cells and components of the innate immune system. Each class of immune cells has a distinct action of neutralization (e.g., antibody dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) and antibody dependent cell-mediated phagocytosis (ADCP)). Therefore, structural alteration of the Fc region results in novel immune pathways of protection. One approach is to modulate the N-glycosylation in the Fc region of the antibody. Of scientific significance, is the plant’s capacity to express human antibodies with homogenous plant and humanized N-glycosylation (WT and GnGn, respectively). This allows to study how specific glycovariants interact with other components of the immune system to clear an infection, producing a tailor-made antibody for distinct diseases. In the first section, plant-produced glycovariants were explored for reduced interactions with specific FcγRs for the overall reduction in ADE for DENV infections. The results demonstrate a reduction in ADE of our plant-produced monoclonal antibodies in in vitro experiments, which led to a greater survival in vivo of immunodeficient mice challenged with lethal doses of DENV and a sub-lethal dose of DENV in ADE conditions. In the second section, plant-produced glycovariants were explored for increased interaction with specific FcγRs to improve ADCC in the treatment of the highly inflammatory CHIKV. The results demonstrate an increase ADCC activity in in vitro experiments and a reduction in CHIKV-associated inflammation in in vivo mouse models. Overall, the significance of this dissertation is that it can provide a treatment for DENV and CHIKV; but equally importantly, give insight to the role of N-glycosylation in antibody effector functions, which has a broader implication for therapeutic development for other viral infections.