Immunobiological role of llama heavy-chain antibodies against a bacterial beta-lactamase.
ABSTRACT In 1993, a fraction of antibodies (Abs) devoid of L chain was found naturally occurring in the Camelidae. They were found to lack L chains, as well as the first constant heavy-chain domain (CH(1)) and therefore they were named "heavy-chain Abs" (HCAbs). Subsequent studies focused on the functional, structural and biochemical properties of recombinant variable fragments (rVHHs) of HCAbs. It was stated that rVHHs have an augmented capacity to interact with "partially hidden" epitopes, like enzymes active sites, and have an increased stability to thermal and chemical aggression. It has been suggested that these unconventional Abs could represent an evolutionary advantage, being more efficient than conventional Abs to inhibit microbial enzymes, and thus exerting a more protective immune response against pathogens. The present work focuses on the immunobiological role of HCAbs, in their capacity to inhibit microbial enzymes. Two animal models were selected, comprising a model for common vertebrates without HCAbs (rabbits), and a model for vertebrates with both conventional and unconventional Abs (Lama glama). A recombinant bacterial beta-lactamase (CTX-M-2) was selected as the microbial enzymatic antigen. After conventional immunization schedules, neither serum titers nor serum inhibitory capacity showed significant differences when rabbits and llamas were compared. These results indicate that the a priori assumption that the adaptive immune system of camelids could be better "prepared" to respond to bacterial enzymes because of the presence of HCAbs, is not always accurate. Furthermore, when the different llama antibody isotypes and subclasses were purified, it was demonstrated that the inhibitory capacity of total serum was due exclusively to IgG(1). HCAbs not only failed to inhibit CTX-M-2, but instead they activated its enzymatic activity. Altogether, these results indicate that the hypotheses extrapolated from the rVHHs properties need to be revised; the real role of HCAbs in vivo remains unknown, as well as their evolutionary cause.
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ABSTRACT: Nanobodies are the smallest fragments of naturally occurring single-domain antibodies that have evolved to be fully functional in the absence of a light chain. Conventional antibodies are glycoproteins comprising two heavy and two light chains. Surprisingly, all members of the Camelidae family possess a fraction of antibodies devoid of both light chains and the first constant domain. These types of antibodies are known as heavy-chain antibody (HcAb) nanobodies. There are three subclasses of IgG in dromedaries, namely IgG1, IgG2, and IgG3 of which IgG2 and IgG3 are of the HcAb type. These heavy chain antibodies constitute approximately 50% of the IgG in llama serum and as much as 75% of the IgG in camel serum. In the present work, the different IgG subclasses from an immunized camel (Camelus dromedarius) with divalent diphtheria-tetanus vaccine were purified using their different affinity for protein A and protein G and their absorbance measured at 280 nm. Purity control and characterization by 12% sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of IgG subclasses was done under reducing conditions. Protein bands were visualized after staining with Coomassie Blue, showing two bands at 50 kDa and 30 kDa for IgG1, while IgG2 and IgG3 produced only one band at 46 kDa and 43 kDa, respectively. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test using diphtheria toxin and purified IgG subclasses from the immunized camel were performed to evaluate their efficiency. Compared with conventional IgG1, heavy chain antibodies (nanobodies) were shown to be more efficient in binding to diphtheria toxin antigen. This study revealed the possibility of using IgG2 and IgG3 nanobodies as an effective antitoxin for the treatment of diphtheria in humans.Nanotechnology, Science and Applications 01/2010; 3:29-35.
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ABSTRACT: It is well established that all camelids have unique antibodies circulating in their blood. Unlike antibodies from other species, these special antibodies are devoid of light chains and are composed of a heavy-chain homodimer. These so-called heavy-chain antibodies (HCAbs) are expressed after a V-D-J rearrangement and require dedicated constant gamma-genes. An immune response is raised in these so-called heavy-chain antibodies following classical immunization protocols. These HCAbs are easily purified from serum, and the antigen-binding fragment interacts with parts of the target that are less antigenic to conventional antibodies. Since the antigen-binding site of the dromedary HCAb is comprised in one single domain, referred to as variable domain of heavy chain of HCAb (VHH) or nanobody (Nb), we designed a strategy to clone the Nb repertoire of an immunized dromedary and to select the Nbs with specificity for our target antigens. The monoclonal Nbs are well produced in bacteria, are very stable and highly soluble, and bind their cognate antigen with high affinity and specificity. We have successfully developed recombinant Nbs for research purposes, as probe in biosensors, to diagnose infections, and to treat diseases like cancer or trypanosomosis.Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 11/2008; 128(1-3):178-83. · 1.88 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Since they were first described in 1993, it was found that recombinant variable fragments (rVHHs) of heavy-chain antibodies (HCAbs) from Camelidae have unusual biophysical properties, as well as a special ability to interact with epitopes that are cryptic for conventional Abs. It has been assumed that in vivo raised polyclonal HCAbs (pHCAbs) should behave in a similar manner than rVHHs; however, this assumption has not been tested sufficiently. Furthermore, our own preliminary work on a single serum sample from a llama immunized with a β-lactamase, has suggested that pHCAbs have no special ability to down-modulate catalytic activity. In this work, we further explored the interaction of pHCAbs from four llamas raised against two microbial enzymes and analyzed it within a short and a long immunization plan. The relative contribution of pHCAbs to serum titer was found to be low compared with that of the most abundant conventional subisotype (IgG(1)), during the whole immunization schedule. Furthermore, pHCAbs not only failed to inhibit the enzymes, but also activated one of them. Altogether, these results suggest that raising high titer inhibitory HCAbs is not a straightforward strategy - neither as a biotechnological strategy nor in the biological context of an immune response against infection - as raising inhibitory rVHHs.animal 03/2012; 6(3):510-7. · 1.65 Impact Factor