Anti-graft-versus-host disease effect of DT390-anti-CD3sFv, a single- chain Fv fusion immunotoxin specifically targeting the CD3ε moiety of the T- cell receptor

Daniel A Vallera, Angela Panoskaltsis-Mortari, Carolina Jost, S. Ramakrishnan, Cindy R. Eide, Robert J. Kreitman, Peter J. Nicholls, Christopher A Pennell, Bruce R Blazar

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In a recent study, we showed that an immunotoxin (IT) made with a conventional monoclonal antibody targeting the CD3ε moiety of the T-cell receptor (TCR) had a potent, but partial, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) effect (Vallera et al, Blood 86:4367, 1995). Therefore, in this current study, we determined whether a fusion immunotoxin made with anti-CD3 single- chain Fv (sFv), the smallest unit of antibody recognizing antigen, would have anti-GVHD activity. A fusion protein was synthesized from a construct made by splicing sFv cDNA from the hybridoma 145 - 2C11 to a truncated form of the diphtheria toxin (DT390) gene. DT390 encodes a molecule that retains full enzymatic activity, but excludes the native DT binding domain. The DT390-anti-CD3sFv hybrid gene was cloned into a vector under the control of an inducible promoter. The protein was expressed in Escherichia coli and then purified from inclusion bodies. The DT390 moiety of the protein had full enzymatic activity compared with native DT and DT390-anti-CD3sFv, with an IC50 of 1 to 2 nmol/L against phytohemagglutinin-stimulated and alloantigen-stimulated T cells. Specificity was shown (1) by blocking the IT with parental anti-CD3 antibody, but not with a control antibody; (2) by failure of DT390-anti-CD3sFv to inhibit lipopolysaccharide-stimulated murine B cells; (3) by failure of an Ig control fusion protein, DT390-Fc, to inhibit T-cell responses; and (4) with in vivo immunohistochemistry studies. GVHD was studied in a model in which C57BL/6 (H-2b)-purified lymph node T cells were administered to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen disparate unirradiated C.B. -17 acid (H-2(d)) mice to assess GVHD effects in the absence of irradiation toxicity. Flow cytometry studies showed that donor T cells were expanded 57-fold and histopathologic analysis showed the hallmarks of a lethal model of GVHD. Control mice receiving phosphate- buffered saline showed 17% survival on day 80 after bone marrow transplantation, and mice receiving 2 μg DT390-Fc fusion toxin control administered in 2 daily doses for 6 days (days 0 through 5) had a 43% survival rate. In contrast, 86% of mice receiving the same dose of DT390- anti-CD3sFv were survivors on day 80, a significant improvement, although survivors still showed histopathologic signs of GVHD. These findings suggest that new anti-GVHD agents can be genetically engineered and warrant further investigation of fusion proteins for GVHD treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2342-2353
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 1996


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