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Novel angiogenin mutants with increased cytotoxicity enhance the depletion of pro-inflammatory macrophages and leukemia cells ex vivo

: Cremer, C.; Braun, H.; Mladenov, R.; Schenke, L.; Cong, X.; Jost, E.; Brümmendorf, T.H.; Fischer, R.; Carloni, P.; Barth, S.; Nachreiner, T.


Cancer immunology immunotherapy : CII 64 (2015), No.12, pp.1575-1586
ISSN: 0340-7004
ISSN: 1432-0851
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Immunotoxins are fusion proteins that combine a targeting component such as an antibody fragment or ligand with a cytotoxic effector component that induces apoptosis in specific cell populations displaying the corresponding antigen or receptor. Human cytolytic fusion proteins (hCFPs) are less immunogenic than conventional immunotoxins because they contain human pro-apoptotic enzymes as effectors. However, one drawback of hCFPs is that target cells can protect themselves by expressing endogenous inhibitor proteins. Inhibitor-resistant enzyme mutants that maintain their cytotoxic activity are therefore promising effector domain candidates. We recently developed potent variants of the human ribonuclease angiogenin (Ang) that were either more active than the wild-type enzyme or less susceptible to inhibition because of their lower affinity for the ribonuclease inhibitor RNH1. However, combining the mutations was unsuccessful because although the enzyme retained its higher a ctivity, its susceptibility to RNH1 reverted to wild-type levels. We therefore used molecular dynamic simulations to determine, at the atomic level, why the affinity for RNH1 reverted, and we developed strategies based on the introduction of further mutations to once again reduce the affinity of Ang for RNH1 while retaining its enhanced activity. We were able to generate a novel Ang variant with remarkable in vitro cytotoxicity against HL-60 cells and pro-inflammatory macrophages. We also demonstrated the pro-apoptotic potential of Ang-based hCFPs on cells freshly isolated from leukemia patients.