Affinity-matured recombinant immunotoxin targeting gangliosides 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6'-isoLD1 on malignant gliomas

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About 60 percent of glioblastomas highly express the gangliosides 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1 on the cell surface, providing ideal targets for brain tumor immunotherapy. A novel recombinant immunotoxin, DmAb14m-(scFv)-PE38KDEL (DmAb14m-IT), specific for the gangliosides 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1, was constructed with improved affinity and increased cytotoxicity for immunotherapeutic targeting of glioblastoma. We isolated an scFv parental clone from a previously established murine hybridoma, DmAb14, that is specific to both 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1. We then performed in vitro affinity maturation by CDR hotspot random mutagenesis. The binding affinity and specificity of affinity-matured DmAb14m-IT were measured by surface-plasmon resonance, flow cytometry, and immunohistochemical analysis. In vitro cytotoxicity of DmAb14m-IT was measured by protein synthesis inhibition and cell death assays in human cell lines expressing gangliosides 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1 (D54MG and D336MG) and xenograft-derived cells (D2224MG). As a result, the KD of DmAb14m-IT for gangliosides 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1 was 2.6 × 10-9M. Also, DmAb14m-IT showed a significantly higher internalization rate in cells expressing 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1. The DmAb14m-IT IC50 was 80 ng/mL (1194 pM) on the D54MG cell line, 5 ng/ml (75 pM) on the D336MG cell line, and 0.5 ng/ml (7.5 pM) on the D2224MG xenograft-derived cells. There was no cytotoxicity on ganglioside-negative HEK293 cells. Immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the specific apparent affinity of DmAb14m-IT with 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1. In conclusion, DmAb14m-IT showed specific binding affinity, a significantly high internalization rate, and selective cytotoxicity on glioma cell lines and xenograft-derived cells expressing 3′-isoLM1 and 3′,6′-isoLD1, thereby displaying robust therapeutic potential for testing the antitumor efficacy of DmAb14m-IT at the preclinical level and eventually in the clinical setting.

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