[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endocarditis and biofilm-associated pili (Ebp) are important in Enterococcus faecalis pathogenesis, and the pilus tip, EbpA, has been shown to play a major role in pilus biogenesis, biofilm formation, and experimental infections. Based on in silico analyses, we previously predicted that ATT is the EbpA translational start codon, not the ATG codon, 120 bp downstream of ATT, which is annotated as the translational start. ATT is rarely used to initiate protein synthesis, leading to our hypothesis that this codon participates in translational regulation of Ebp production. To investigate this possibility, site-directed mutagenesis was used to introduce consecutive stop codons in place of two lysines at positions 5 and 6 from the ATT, to replace the ATT codon in situ with ATG, and then to revert this ATG to ATT; translational fusions of ebpA to lacZ were also constructed to investigate the effect of these start codons on translation. Our results showed that the annotated ATG does not start translation of EbpA, implicating ATT as the start codon; moreover, the presence of ATT, compared to the engineered ATG, resulted in significantly decreased EbpA surface display, attenuated biofilm, and reduced adherence to fibrinogen. Corroborating these findings, the translational fusion with the native ATT as the initiation codon showed significantly decreased expression of β-galactosidase compared to the construct with ATG in place of ATT. Thus, these results demonstrate that the rare initiation codon of EbpA negatively regulates EbpA surface display and negatively affects Ebp-associated functions, including biofilm and adherence to fibrinogen.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction:
Bifunctional chelators have been shown to impact the biodistribution of monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based imaging agents. Recently, radiolabeled 1,4,7-triazacyclononane,1-glutaric acid-4,7-acetic acid (NODAGA)-peptide complexes have demonstrated improved in vivo stability and performance compared to their 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) counterparts. Here, we investigated if similar utility could be achieved with mAbs and compared (64)Cu-labeled DOTA and NODAGA-immunoconjugates for the detection of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) in a prostate cancer model.
DOTA and NODAGA-immunoconjugates of an EpCAM targeting mAb (mAb7) were synthesized and radiolabeled with (64)Cu (DOTA: 40°C for 1hr; NODAGA: 25°C for 1hr). The average number of chelators per mAb was quantified by isotopic dilution, and the biological activity of the immunoconjugates was evaluated by flow cytometry and ELISA. Radioligand assays were performed to compare cellular uptake and determine the dissociation constant (Kd) and maximum number of binding sites (Bmax) for the immunoconjugates using DsRed-transfected PC3-cells. A PC3-DsRed xenograft tumor model was established in nude mice and used to perform biodistribution studies to compare organ uptake and pharmacokinetics.
(64)Cu-DOTA-mAb7 and (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7 were prepared with chelator/protein ratios of 2-3 and obtained in comparable radiochemical yields ranging from 59 to 71%. Similar immunoreactivity was observed with both agents, and mock labeling studies indicated that incubation at room temperature or 40°C did not affect potency. (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7 demonstrated higher in vitro cellular uptake while (64)Cu-DOTA-mAb7 had higher Kd and Bmax values. From the biodistribution data, we found similar tumor uptake (13.44±1.21%ID/g and 13.24±4.86%ID/g for (64)Cu-DOTA-mAb7 and (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7, respectively) for both agents at 24hr, although normal prostate tissue was significantly lower for (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7. (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7 also had less accumulation in the liver, suggesting excellent retention of the chelation complex in vivo. This was further confirmed by the higher blood activity of (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7, which corresponds to increased bioavailability afforded by the enhanced in vivo stability of the agent. Although tumor/muscle ratios were comparable, tumor/prostate ratios were >2-fold and 1.5-fold higher for (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7 at 24 and 48hr, respectively, and suggest better ability to discriminate tumor tissue with (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7 in our prostate cancer model.
To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first comparison of (64)Cu-labeled DOTA and NODAGA immunoconjugates in vivo. Our results show favorable in vivo performance for (64)Cu-NODAGA-mAb7 which builds upon previous data on our hybrid mAb7 imaging agent by increasing the detection sensitivity for metastatic prostate tumors, as well as for other types of cancer that express EpCAM.
No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Nuclear Medicine and Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been shown preclinically as reliable targeting moieties for antigen imaging using near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) molecular imaging. However, crystallizable fragment-gamma receptor (FcγRs) expressed on immune cells also bind mAbs through defined epitopes on the constant fragment (Fc) of IgG. Herein, we evaluate the potential impact Fc interactions have on mAb agent imaging specificity.
Through the removal of conserved glycans within the Fc domain, shown to have Fc/FcγR interactions, we evaluate their impact on non-specific binding/accumulation of a NIRF-labeled mAb-based imaging agent in lymph nodes (LNs) in inflamed animals and in an orthotopic prostate cancer animal model of LN metastasis.
Deglycosylation of a murine mAb against the human epithelial cell adhesion marker using endoglycosidase EndoS significantly reduced non-specific binding in the LNs of inflamed animals and in cancer-negative LNs of tumor-bearing animals. Sensitivity remained unchanged while improvement in imaging specificity increased imaging accuracy.
The reduction of non-specific binding through deglycosylation of a mAb-based imaging agent shows that reducing Fc/FcγR interactions can improve imaging accuracy.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Passive protection, the administration of antibodies to prevent infection, has garnered significant interest in recent years
as a potential prophylactic countermeasure to decrease the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections. Pili, polymerized protein
structures covalently anchored to the peptidoglycan wall of many Gram-positive pathogens, are ideal targets for antibody intervention,
given their importance in establishing infection and their accessibility to antibody interactions. In this work, we demonstrated
that a monoclonal antibody to the major component of Enterococcus faecalis pili, EbpC, labels polymerized pilus structures, diminishes biofilm formation, and significantly prevents the establishment
of a rat endocarditis infection. The effectiveness of this anti-EbpC monoclonal provides strong evidence in support of its
potential as a preventative. In addition, after radiolabeling, this monoclonal identified the site of enterococcal infection,
providing a rare example of molecularly specific imaging of an established bacterial infection and demonstrating the versatility
of this agent for use in future diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Infection and immunity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Enterococcus faecalis cell wall-anchored protein Ace is an important virulence factor involved in cell adhesion and infection. Expression of Ace
on the cell surface is affected by many factors, including stage of growth, culture temperature, and environmental components,
such as serum, urine, and collagen. However, the mechanisms that regulate or modulate Ace display are not well understood.
With interest in identifying genes associated with Ace expression, we utilized a whole-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
(ELISA)-based screening method to identify mutants from a transposon insertion mutant library which exhibited distinct Ace
surface expression profiles. We identified a ccpA insertion mutant which showed significantly decreased levels of Ace surface expression at early growth phase versus those
of wild-type OG1RF. Confirmation of the observation was achieved through flow cytometry and complementation analysis. Compared
to the wild type, the E. faecalis ccpA mutant had an impaired ability to adhere to collagen when grown to early exponential phase, consistent with the lack of Ace
expression in the early growth phase. As a key component of carbon catabolite regulation, CcpA has been previously reported
to play a critical role in regulating expression of proteins involved in E. faecalis carbohydrate uptake and utilization. Our discovery is the first to associate CcpA with the production of a major E. faecalis virulence factor, providing new insights into the regulation of E. faecalis pathogenesis.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of bacteriology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endocarditis and biofilm-associated pilus (Ebp) operon is a component of the core genome of Enterococcus faecalis that has been shown to be important for biofilm formation, adherence to host fibrinogen, collagen and platelets, and in experimental endocarditis and urinary tract infection models. Here, we created single and double deletion mutants of the pilus subunits and sortases; next, by combining western blotting, immunoelectron microscopy, and using ebpR in trans to increase pilus production, we identified EbpA as the tip pilin and EbpB as anchor at the pilus base, the latter attached to cell wall by the housekeeping sortase, SrtA. We also confirmed EbpC and Bps as the major pilin and pilin-specific sortase, respectively, both required for pilus polymerization. Interestingly, pilus length was increased and the number of pili decreased by deleting ebpA, while control overexpression of ebpA in trans restored wild-type levels, suggesting a dual role for EbpA in both initiation and termination of pilus polymerization. We next investigated the contribution of each pilin subunit to biofilm formation and UTI. Significant reduction in biofilm formation was observed with deletion of ebpA or ebpC (P<0.001) while ebpB was found to be dispensable; a similar result was seen in kidney CFUs in experimental UTI (ΔebpA, ΔebpC, P≤0.0093; ΔebpB, non-significant, each vs. OG1RF). Hence, our data provide important structural and functional information about these ubiquitous E. faecalis pili and, based on their demonstrated importance in biofilm and infection, suggest EbpA and EbpC as potential targets for antibody-based therapeutic approaches.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Wide-field surgical excision reduces the chance of residual disease, but can also lead to disfigurement and devastating morbidities when resection is close to critical structures. We hypothesize that near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging can enable accurate detection of tumor margins for image-guided resection.
An orthotopic model of human prostate cancer (PCa) was used to assess primary tumor margins using a NIRF-labeled antibody against epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM). PCa cells stably expressing far red fluorescent gene reporter, iRFP, enabled colocalization with NIRF signals for direct assessment of tumor margins.
Using receiver operating characteristic analysis, far red fluorescence was validated against standard pathology of primary and metastatic lesions with >96 % accuracy. Primary tumor margins were more accurately detected by quantitative NIRF imaging using the EpCAM-targeting antibody as compared to a NIRF-labeled isotype control antibody.
NIRF molecular imaging may enable real-time and accurate assessment of tumor margins.
No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a custom-made antibody to target the overexpression of epithelial adhesion molecule (EpCAM), a far-red fluorescent gene reporter, a solid phantom, and a military grade intensified image intensifier, we quantified the performance of near-infrared fluorescence imaging for intraoperative margin detection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nuclear and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging provide non-invasive monitoring of disease. Merging the respective contrast agents through dual labeling could facilitate NIRF validation using proven nuclear imaging methodology while expanding the utility of diagnostic radiotracers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dual-labeled compounds containing nuclear and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) contrast have the potential to molecularly guide surgical resection of cancer by extending whole-body diagnostic imaging findings into the surgical suite. To simplify the dual labeling process for antibody-based agents, we designed a multimodality chelation (MMC) scaffold which combined a radiometal chelating agent and fluorescent dye into a single moiety. Three dye-derivatized MMC compounds were synthesized and radiolabeled. The IRDye 800CW conjugate, 4, had favorable optical properties and showed rapid clearance in vivo. Using 4, an epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) targeting MMC-immunoconjugate was prepared and dual-labeled with 64Cu. In vitro binding activity was confirmed after MMC conjugation. Multimodal imaging studies showed higher tumor accumulation of 64Cu-7 compared to non-targeted 64Cu-4 in a prostate cancer model. Further evaluation in different EpCAM expressing cell lines is warranted as well as application of the MMC dual labeling approach with other monoclonal antibodies (mAbs).
No preview · Article · Dec 2012 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The proliferation of most carcinomas is associated with an overexpression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), a 40-kDa type I transmembrane protein found on epithelial cells yet absent from other cell types. The absence of EpCAM in normal lymphatics makes it an attractive marker for studying lymph node (LN) metastases of carcinomas to improve LN staging accuracy. Herein, we developed and quantitatively compared dual-labeled monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) of varying affinities against EpCAM for both noninvasive and intraoperative detection of metastatic LNs in prostate cancer.
A panel of hybridoma-derived anti-EpCAM mAbs was generated and screened. Two high-affinity candidate mAbs with specificity for nonoverlapping epitopes on the EpCAM extracellular domain were chosen for further evaluation. After conjugation with DOTA for (64)Cu radiolabeling and IRDye 800CW as a fluorophore, dual-labeled specific or isotype control mAb was administered intravenously to male nu/nu mice at 10-12 wk after orthotopic implantation of DsRed-expressing PC3 cells. Within 18-24 h, noninvasive small-animal PET/CT and in vivo, in situ, and ex vivo DsRed reporter gene and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging were performed to detect primary tumors and metastatic LNs. Using DsRed fluorescence as the true indicator of cancer-positive tissue, we performed receiver operating characteristic curve analyses of percentage injected dose per gram measured from quantitative small-animal PET/CT and fluorescence intensity measured from semiquantitative NIRF imaging for each LN examined to compare mAb sensitivity and specificity.
mAbs 7 and 153 generated in-house were found to have higher affinity than commercial mAb 9601. Accuracy, as a function of sensitivity and specificity, for the detection of cancer-positive LNs during in vivo small-animal PET/CT was highest for mAbs 7 (87.0%) and 153 (78.0%) and significantly greater (P < 0.001) than random chance (50.0%). Rates for mAb 9601 (60.7%) and control mAb 69 (27.0%) were not significantly different from chance. Similarly, mAb 7 had significant detection accuracy by NIRF imaging (96.0%, P < 0.001).
mAbs 7 and 153 are attractive, high-affinity candidates for further multimodal imaging agent optimization aimed at enhancing sensitivity and specificity for detection of metastatic LNs in prostate cancer. Fully quantitative NIRF imaging is needed for comprehensive analyses of NIRF-labeled agent accuracy for intraoperative guidance.
Preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of Nuclear Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enterococcus faecalis, a gram-positive opportunistic pathogen, has become one of the leading causes of nosocomial infections. Normally a resident of the gastrointestinal tract, extensive use of antibiotics has resulted in the rise of E. faecalis strains that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. This, compounded with the ability to easily exchange antibiotic determinants with other bacteria, has made certain E. faecalis infections difficult to treat medically. The genetic toolbox for the study of E. faecalis has expanded greatly in recent years, but has lacked methodology to stably introduce a gene in single copy in a non-disruptive manner for complementation or expression of non-native genes. In this study, we identified a specific site in the genome of E. faecalis OG1RF that can serve as an expression site for a gene of interest. This site is well conserved in most of the sequenced E. faecalis genomes. A vector has also been developed to integrate genes into this site by allelic exchange. Using this system, we complemented an in-frame deletion in eutV, demonstrating that the mutation does not cause polar effects. We also generated an E. faecalis OG1RF strain that stably expresses the green fluorescent protein and is comparable to the parent strain in terms of in vitro growth and pathogenicity in C. elegans and mice. Another major advantage of this new methodology is the ability to express integrated genes without the need for maintaining antibiotic selection, making this an ideal tool for functional studies of genes in infection models and co-culture systems.
No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of microbiological methods
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ace, a known virulence factor and the first identified microbial surface component recognizing adhesive matrix molecule (MSCRAMM)
of Enterococcus faecalisis associated with host cell adherence and endocarditis. The Fsr quorum-sensing system of E. faecalis, a two-component signal transduction system, has also been repeatedly linked to virulence in E. faecalis, due in part to the transcriptional induction of an extracellular metalloprotease, gelatinase (GelE). In this study, we discovered
that disruption of the Fsr pathway significantly increased the levels of Ace on the cell surface in the latter phases of growth.
Furthermore, we observed that, in addition to fsrBmutants, other strains identified as deficient in GelE activity also demonstrated a similar phenotype. Additional experiments
demonstrated the GelE-dependent cleavage of Ace from the surface of E. faecalis, confirming that GelE specifically reduces Ace cell surface display. In addition, disruption of the Fsr system or GelE expression
significantly improved the ability of E. faecalisto adhere to collagen, which is consistent with higher levels of Ace on the E. faecalissurface. These results demonstrate that the display of Ace is mediated by quorum sensing through the action of GelE, providing
insight into the complicated world of Gram-positive pathogen adhesion and colonization.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Journal of bacteriology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to develop and characterize a novel peptide imaging agent for noninvasive near-infrared fluorescence imaging of protein transport by the lymphatics. An imaging agent consisting of a cyclic albumin-binding domain (cABD) peptide, with sequence, Arg-Leu-Ile-Glu-Asp-Ile-Cys-Leu-Pro-Arg-Trp-Gly-Cys-Leu-Trp-Glu-Asp-Asp-Lys, was conjugated to a near-infrared fluorophore, IRDye800CW, allowing for enhanced vascular uptake, retention, and fluorescence imaging.
Characterization of the cABD-IRDye800 peptide conjugate was performed using fluorescence spectroscopy to assess optical properties and SDS-PAGE and Biacore binding assays to determine binding affinity and specificity. Fluorescence imaging of normal C57BL/6 mice was conducted to monitor lymphatic uptake and retention.
cABD-IRDye800 exhibited approximately six times greater fluorescent yield and greater stability than indocyanine green, an agent previously used in humans to image lymphatic vasculature. The agent exhibited affinity for albumin with IC(50) and Kd in the nanomolar range and demonstrated superior retention characteristics within mouse lymphatics when compared with IRDye800CW.
cABD-IRDye800 has utility for assessing lymphatic function in mouse models of human lymphatic disease and the potential for use in clinical diagnostic imaging of the lymphatic vasculature.
Preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pili in Gram-positive bacteria play a major role in the colonization of host tissue and in the development of biofilms. They
are promising candidates for vaccines or drug targets since they are highly immunogenic and share common structural and functional
features among various Gram-positive pathogens. Numerous publications have helped build a detailed understanding of pilus
surface assembly, yet regulation of pilin gene expression has not been well defined. Utilizing a monoclonal antibody developed
against the Enterococcus faecalis major pilus protein EbpC, we identified mutants from a transposon (Tn) insertion library which lack surface-exposed Ebp pili.
In addition to insertions in the ebp regulon, an insertion in ef1184 (dapA) significantly reduced levels of EbpC. Analysis of in-frame dapA deletion mutants and mutants with the downstream gene rnjB deleted further demonstrated that rnjB was responsible for the deficiency of EbpC. Sequence analysis revealed that rnjB encodes a putative RNase J2. Subsequent quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and Northern blotting demonstrated that the
ebpABC mRNA transcript level was significantly decreased in the rnjB deletion mutant. In addition, using a reporter gene assay, we confirmed that rnjB affects the expression of the ebpABC operon. Functionally, the rnjB deletion mutant was attenuated in its ability to produce biofilm, similar to that of an ebpABC deletion mutant which lacks Ebp pili. Together, these results demonstrate the involvement of rnjB in E. faecalis pilin gene expression and provide insight into a novel mechanism of regulation of pilus production in Gram-positive pathogens.
Preview · Article · Oct 2010 · Journal of bacteriology