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Novel fusion proteins for the antigen-specific staining and elimination of B cell receptor-positive cell populations demonstrated by a tetanus toxoid fragment C (TTC) model antigen

Klose, D;Saunders, U;Barth, S;Fischer, R;Jacobi, AM;Nachreiner, T;

In an earlier study we developed a unique strategy allowing us to specifically eliminate antigen-specific murine B cells via their distinct B cell receptors using a new class of fusion proteins. In the present work we elaborated our idea to demonstrate the feasibility of specifically addressing and eliminating human memory B cells.,The present study reveals efficient adaptation of the general approach to selectively target and eradicate human memory B cells. In order to demonstrate the feasibility we engineered a fusion protein following the principle of recombinant immunotoxins by combining a model antigen (tetanus toxoid fragment C, TTC) for B cell receptor targeting and a truncated version of Pseudomonas aeruginosa exotoxin A (ETA’) to induce apoptosis after cellular uptake. The TTC-ETA’ fusion protein not only selectively bound to a TTC-reactive murine B cell hybridoma cell line in vitro but also to freshly isolated human memory B cells from immunized donors ex vivo. Specific toxicity was confirmed on an antigen-specific population of human CD27(+) memory B cells.,This protein engineering strategy can be used as a generalized platform approach for the construction of therapeutic fusion proteins with disease-relevant antigens as B cell receptor-binding domains, offering a promising approach for the specific depletion of autoreactive B-lymphocytes in B cell-driven autoimmune diseases.