Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) potently inhibits cholinergic signaling at the neuromuscular junction. The ideal countermeasures for BoNT exposure are monoclonal antibodies or BoNT antisera, which form BoNT-containing immune complexes that are rapidly cleared from the general circulation. Clearance of opsonized toxins may involve complement receptor-mediated immunoadherence to red blood cells (RBC) in primates or to platelets in rodents. Methods of enhancing immunoadherence of BoNT-specific antibodies may increase their potency in vivo. We designed a novel fusion protein (FP) to link biotinylated molecules to glycophorin A (GPA) on the RBC surface. The FP consists of an scFv specific for murine GPA fused to streptavidin. FP:mAb:BoNT complexes bound specifically to the RBC surface in vitro. In a mouse model of BoNT neutralization, the FP increased the potency of single and double antibody combinations in BoNT neutralization. A combination of two antibodies with the FP gave complete neutralization of 5,000 LD50 BoNT in mice. Neutralization in vivo was dependent on biotinylation of both antibodies and correlated with a reduction of plasma BoNT levels. In a post-exposure model of intoxication, FP:mAb complexes gave complete protection from a lethal BoNT/A1 dose when administered within 2 hours of toxin exposure. In a pre-exposure prophylaxis model, mice were fully protected for 72 hours following administration of the FP:mAb complex. These results demonstrate that RBC-targeted immunoadherence through the FP is a potent enhancer of BoNT neutralization by antibodies in vivo.
Adekar, Sharad P; Segan, Andrew T; Chen, Cindy; Bermudez, Rodney; Elias, M D; Selling, Bernard H; Kapadnis, B P; Simpson, Lance L; Simon, Paul M; and Dessain, Scott K, "Enhanced neutralization potency of botulinum neurotoxin antibodies using a red blood cell-targeting fusion protein." (2011). Division of Infectious Diseases and Environmental Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 1.