Inhibitory GH Receptor Extracellular Domain Monoclonal Antibodies: Three-Dimensional Epitope Mapping

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Abstract

GH receptor (GHR) mediates the anabolic and metabolic effects of GH. We previously characterized a monoclonal antibody (anti-GHRext-mAb) that reacts with subdomain 2 of the rabbit GHR extracellular domain (ECD) and is a conformation-specific inhibitor of GH signaling in cells bearing rabbit or human GHR. Notably, this antibody has little effect on GH binding and also inhibits inducible metalloproteolysis of the GHR that occurs in the perimembranous ECD stem region. In the current study, we demonstrate that anti-GHRext-mAb inhibits GH-dependent cellular proliferation and also inhibits hepatic GH signaling in vivo in mice that adenovirally express rabbit GHR, as assessed with our noninvasive bioluminescence hepatic signaling assay. A separate monoclonal antibody (anti-GHRmAb 18.24) is a sister clone of anti-GHRext-mAb. Here, we demonstrate that anti-GHRmAb 18.24 also inhibits rabbit and human GHR signaling and inducible receptor proteolysis. Further, we use a random PCR-generated mutagenic expression system to map the three-dimensional epitopes in the rabbit GHR ECD for both anti-GHRext-mAb and anti-GHRmAb 18.24. We find that each of the two antibodies has similar, but nonidentical, discontinuous epitopes that include regions of subdomain 2 encompassing the dimerization interface. These results have fundamental implications for understanding the role of the dimerization interface and subdomain 2 in GHR activation and regulated GHR metalloproteolysis and may inform development of therapeutics that target GHR.

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