[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Africanized Apis mellifera bees, also known as killer bees, have an exceptional defensive instinct, characterized by mass attacks that may cause envenomation or death. From the years 2000 to 2013, 77,066 bee accidents occurred in Brazil. Bee venom comprises several substances, including melittin and phospholipase A2 (PLA2). Due to the lack of antivenom for bee envenomation, this study aimed to produce human monoclonal antibody fragments (single chain fragment variable; scFv), by using phage display technology. These fragments targeted melittin and PLA2, the two major components of bee venom, to minimize their toxic effects in cases of mass envenomation. Two phage antibody selections were performed using purified melittin. As the commercial melittin is contaminated with PLA2, phages specific to PLA2 were also obtained during one of the selections. Specific clones for melittin and PLA2 were selected for the production of soluble scFvs, named here Afribumabs: prefix: afrib- (from Africanized bee); stem/suffix: -umab (fully human antibody). Afribumabs 1 and 2 were tested in in vitro and in vivo assays to assess their ability to inhibit the toxic actions of purified melittin, PLA2, and crude bee venom. Afribumabs reduced hemolysis caused by purified melittin and PLA2 and by crude venom in vitro and reduced edema formation in the paws of mice and prolonged the survival of venom-injected animals in vivo. These results demonstrate that Afribumabs may contribute to the production of the first non-heterologous antivenom treatment against bee envenomation. Such a treatment may overcome some of the difficulties associated with conventional immunotherapy techniques.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this work, we present recent advances in the use of phage display technology for the preparation of antivenoms for animal toxin neutralization. Even though classical antivenoms have been used since the early 20th century, envenomation remains a global public health problem. Recently, the phage display technique has been used in an attempt to circumvent some of the difficulties associated with traditional preparations of antivenom. Here, we review studies that developed antibody fragments with potential inhibitory effects against animal toxins and discuss the most current technical issues and perspectives regarding phage display technology in this field.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In various types of snake venom, the major toxic components are proteinases and members of the phospholipase A2 family, although other enzymes also contribute to the toxicity. In this study, we evaluated the proteolytic, phospholipase, and L-amino acid oxidase activities in the venom of five Bothrops species-B. jararaca, B. jararacussu, B. moojeni, B. neuwiedi, and B. alternatus-all of which are used in the production of commercial antivenom, prepared in horses. The enzymatic activities of each species' venom were classified as high, moderate, or low. B. moojeni venom demonstrated the highest enzymatic activity profile, followed by the venom of B. neuwiedi, B. jararacussu, B. jararaca, and B. alternatus. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare all of these enzymes from multiple species, which is significant in view of the activity of L-amino acid oxidase across Bothrops species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Approximately 20,000 snakebites are registered each year in Brazil. The classical treatment for venomous snakebite involves the administration of sera obtained from immunized horses. Moreover, the production and care of horses is costly, and the use of heterologous sera can cause hypersensitivity reactions. The production of human antibody fragments by phage display technology is seen as a means of overcoming some of these disadvantages. The studies here attempted to test human monoclonal antibodies specific to Bothrops jararacussu against other Bothrops sp. venoms, using the Griffin.1 library of human single-chain fragment-variable (scFv) phage antibodies. Using the Griffin.1 phage antibody library, this laboratory previously produced scFvs capable of inhibiting the phospholipase and myotoxic activities of Bothrops jararacussu venom. The structural and functional similarities of the various forms of phospholipase A2 (PLA(2)) in Bothrops venom served as the basis for the present study wherein the effectiveness of those same scFvs were evaluated against B. jararaca, B. neuwiedi, and B. moojeni venoms. Each clone was found to recognize all three Bothrops venoms, and purified scFvs partially inhibited their in vitro phospholipase activity. In vivo assays demonstrated that the scFv clone P2B7 reduced myotoxicity and increased the survival of animals that received the test venoms. The results here indicate that the scFv P2B7 is a candidate for inclusion in a mixture of specific antibodies to produce a human anti-bothropic sera. This data demonstrates that the human scFv P2B7 represents an alternative therapeutic approach to heterologous anti-bothropic sera available today.
No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of Immunotoxicology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study of venom components is an important step toward understanding the mechanism of action of such venoms and is indispensable for the development of new therapies. This work aimed to investigate the venom of Lachesis muta rhombeata and evaluate enzymes related to its toxicity. Phospholipase A2 (PLA(2)), L-amino acid oxidase (LAAO), and proteinase activities were measured, and the molecular weights were estimated. We found the venom to contain one PLA(2) (17 kDa), one LAAO (132 kDa), and three serine proteinases (40, 31, and 20 kDa). Although only serine proteinases were observed in the zymogram, metalloproteinases were found to contribute more to the total proteolytic activity than did serine proteinases. The work confirmed the presence of highly active enzymes; and, moreover, we proposed a novel method for confirming the presence of LAAOs by zymography. We also suggested a simple step to increase the sensitivity of proteinase assays.
No preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Brazil, the species Tityus serrulatus is responsible for the most severe cases of scorpion envenomation. There is currently a need for new scorpion anti-venoms that are more effective and less harmful. This study attempted to produce human monoclonal antibodies capable of inhibiting the activity of T. serrulatus venom (TsV), using the Griffin.1 library of human single-chain fragment-variable (scFv) phage antibodies. Four rounds of phage antibody selection were performed, and the round with the highest phage antibody titer was chosen for the production of monoclonal phage antibodies and for further analysis. The scFv 2A, designated serrumab, was selected for the production and purification of soluble antibody fragments. In a murine peritoneal macrophage cell line (J774.1), in vitro assays of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and IL-10 were performed. In male BALB/c mice, in vivo assays of plasma urea, creatinine, aspartate transaminase, and glucose were performed, as well as of neutrophil recruitment and leukocyte counts. It was found that serrumab inhibited the TsV-induced increases in the production of IL-6, TNFα, and IL-10 in J774.1 cells. The in vivo inhibition assay showed that serrumab also prevented TsV-induced increases in the plasma levels of urea, creatinine, aspartate transaminase, and glucose, as well as preventing the TsV-induced increase in neutrophil recruitment. The results indicate that the human monoclonal antibody serrumab is a candidate for inclusion in a mixture of specific antibodies to the various toxins present in TsV. Therefore, serrumab shows promise for use in the production of new anti-venom.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Journal of Immunotoxicology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hybrid created from the crossbreeding of European and African bees, known as the Africanised bee, has provided numerous advantages for current beekeeping. However, this new species exhibits undesirable behaviours, such as colony defence instinct and a propensity to attack en masse, which can result in serious accidents. To date, there is no effective treatment for cases of Africanised bee envenomation. One promising technique for developing an efficient antivenom is the use of phage display technology, which enables the production of human antibodies, thus avoiding the complications of serum therapy, such as anaphylaxis and serum sickness. The aim of this study was to produce human monoclonal single-chain Fv (scFv) antibody fragments capable of inhibiting the toxic effects of Africanised bee venom. We conducted four rounds of selection of antibodies against the venom and three rounds of selection of antibodies against purified melittin. Three clones were selected and tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay to verify their specificity for melittin and phospholipase A2. Two clones (C5 and C12) were specific for melittin, and one (A7) was specific for phospholipase A2. In a kinetic haemolytic assay, these clones were evaluated individually and in pairs. The A7-C12 combination had the best synergistic effect and was chosen to be used in the assays of myotoxicity inhibition and lethality. The A7-C12 combination inhibited the in vivo myotoxic effect of the venom and increased the survival of treated animals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Among the various methods for evaluating animal venom toxicity, the calculation of the median lethal dose (LD 50) is the most widely used. Although different protocols can be used to calculate the LD 50, the source of the venom and the method of extraction, as well as the strain, age, and sex of the animal model employed, should be taken into consideration. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the influence of sex and age on the toxicity of Tityus serrulatus scorpion venom in Swiss mice. Although the symptoms of envenomation were similar in male and female animals, female mice proved to be more resistant to the venom. In females, age had no impact on the susceptibility to scorpion envenomation. Male mice were more sensitive to T. serrulatus venom. Moreover, in males, age was an important parameter since sensitivity to the venom increased with age.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases