Protection from diabetes development by single-chain antibody-mediated delivery of a NF-κB inhibitor specifically to β-cells in vivo.
ABSTRACT Recently, we reported the generation of single-chain antibodies (SCAs) highly specific for rodent and human β-cells. Our current report describes the generation of a fusion protein of one of these SCAs (SCA B1) with a NF-κB essential modifier (NEMO)-binding domain (NBD) peptide, thereby creating a selective inhibitor of NF-κB activation in β-cells. The SCA B1-NBD fusion protein was cloned in the pIRES-EGFP, expressed in bacteria, and purified by metal affinity chromatography; the newly generated complex was then administered intravenously to rodents and evaluated for its ability to protect β-cells against cytokines in vitro and diabetogenic agents in vivo. First, it was shown clearly that our SCA B1-NBD fusion protein binds highly selective to CD rat β-cells in vivo. Second, we observed that SCA B1-mediated in vivo delivery of the NBD peptide completely blocked IL-1β + IFNγ- and TNFα + IFNγ-mediated induction of NF-κB as well as islet dysfunction in culture. Finally, repeated intravenous injection of SCA B1-NBD prior to multiple low-dose administration of streptozotocin in CD mice not only induced a striking resistance to diabetes development but also preserved β-cell mass. In conclusion, our data show for the first time that a SCA B1-NBD fusion peptide reliably protects β-cells against cytokines in vitro and allows protection from diabetes development in CD mice in vivo.