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Bispecific antibodies for the treatment of co-circulating flaviviruses and antibody derivatives for diagnostics in checkpoint immunotherapy

Description

Flaviviruses (FVs) are among the most medically important arboviruses of the world with the Dengue virus (DENV) accounting for a large percentage of infections observed in tropical and subtropical regions

Flaviviruses (FVs) are among the most medically important arboviruses of the world with the Dengue virus (DENV) accounting for a large percentage of infections observed in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Globalization, travel, and the expanding range of mosquito vectors, such as Aedes aegypti, have increased the potential of infection rates and illnesses associated with FVs.

The DENV and the Zika (ZIKV) FVs frequently co-circulate and generally cause mild self-liming febrile illnesses. However, a secondary infection with a heterologous DENV serotype may lead to life threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS). DHF/DSS have been linked to antibody dependent enhancement of infection (ADE), a phenomenon that occurs when antibodies (Abs) formed against an initial infection with one serotype of DENV cross-reacts but does not neutralize a heterologous DENV serotype in a secondary infection. Furthermore, Abs raised against the ZIKV have been observed to cross-react with the DENV and vice versa, which can potentially cause ADE and lead to severe DENV disease. The ZIKV can be transmitted vertically and has been linked to devastating congenital defects such as microcephaly in newborns. FDA approved treatments do not exist for DENV and ZIKV illnesses. Thus, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for these co-circulating viruses. Here, a tetravalent bispecific antibody (bsAb) targeting the ZIKV and all four serotypes of the DENV was expressed in the Nicotiana benthamiana (N. benthamiana) plant. Functional assays of the DENV/ZIKV bsAb demonstrated binding, neutralization, and a significant reduction in ADE activity against both the DENV and the ZIKV.

A single chain variable fragment (scFv) and a diabody based on an antibody directed against the immune checkpoint inhibitor PD-L1, were also expressed in N. benthamiana leaves. The smaller sizes of the scFv and diabody confers them with the ability to penetrate deeper tissues making them beneficial in diagnostics, imaging, and possibly cancer therapy. The past few decades has seen long strives in recombinant protein production in plants with significant improvements in production, safety, and efficacy. These characteristics make plants an attractive platform for the production of recombinant proteins, biologics, and therapeutics.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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Molecular design and functional characterization portfolio of flavivirus therapeutics

Description

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with

Flavivirus infections are emerging as significant threats to human health around the globe. Among them West Nile(WNV) and Dengue Virus (DV) are the most prevalent in causing human disease with WNV outbreaks occurring in all areas around the world and DV epidemics in more than 100 countries. WNV is a neurotropic virus capable of causing meningitis and encephalitis in humans. Currently, there are no therapeutic treatments or vaccines available. The expanding epidemic of WNV demands studies that develop efficacious therapeutics and vaccines and produce them rapidly and inexpensively. In response, our lab developed a plant-derived monoclonal antibody (mAb) (pHu-E16) against DIII (WNV antigen) that is able to neutralize and prevent mice from lethal infection. However, this drug has a short window of efficacy due to pHu-E16's inability to cross the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB) and enter the brain. Here, we constructed a bifunctional diabody, which couples the neutralizing activity of E16 and BBB penetrating activity of 8D3 mAb. We also produced a plant-derived E16 scFv-CH1-3 variant with equivalent specific binding as the full pHu-E16 mAb, but only requiring one gene construct for production. Furthermore, a WNV vaccine based on plant-derived DIII was developed showing proper folding and potentially protective immune response in mice. DV causes severe hemorrhaging diseases especially in people exposed to secondary DV infection from a heterotypic strain. It is hypothesized that sub-neutralizing cross-reactive antibodies from the first exposure aid the second infection in a process called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). ADE depends on the ability of mAb to bind Fc receptors (FcγRs), and has become a major roadblock for developing mAb-based therapeutics against DV. We aim to produce an anti-Dengue mAb (E60) in different glycoengineered plant lines that exhibit reduced/differential binding to FcγRs, therefore, reducing or eliminating ADE. We have successfully cloned the molecular constructs of E60, and expressed it in two plant lines with different glycosylation patterns. We demonstrated that both plant-derived E60 mAb glycoforms retained specific recognition and neutralization activity against DV. Overall, our study demonstrates great strives to develop efficacious therapeutics and potent vaccine candidates against Flaviviruses in plant expression systems.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014