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Loxoscelism: Advances and Challenges in the Design of Antibody Fragments with Therapeutic Potential

Abstract : Envenoming due to Loxosceles spider bites still remains a neglected disease of particular medical concern in the Americas. To date, there is no consensus for the treatment of envenomed patients, yet horse polyclonal antivenoms are usually infused to patients with identified severe medical conditions. It is widely known that venom proteins in the 30-35 kDa range with sphingomyelinase D (SMasesD) activity, reproduce most of the toxic effects observed in loxoscelism. Hence, we believe that monoclonal antibody fragments targeting such toxins might pose an alternative safe and effective treatment. In the present study, starting from the monoclonal antibody LimAb7, previously shown to target SMasesD from the venom of L. intermedia and neutralize its dermonecrotic activity, we designed humanized antibody V-domains, then produced and purified as recombinant single-chain antibody fragments (scFvs). These molecules were characterized in terms of humanness, structural stability, antigen-binding activity, and venom-neutralizing potential. Throughout this process, we identified some blocking points that can impact the Abs antigen-binding activity and neutralizing capacity. In silico analysis of the antigen/antibody amino acid interactions also contributed to a better understanding of the antibody's neutralization mechanism and led to reformatting the humanized antibody fragment which, ultimately, recovered the functional characteristics for efficient in vitro venom neutralization. Key Contribution: The humanization of a mouse antibody V-domains able to neutralize Loxosceles intermedia venom paves the way for a new generation of anti-venom therapy. This study highlights the importance of understanding the antibody's mechanism of neutralization for appropriate design of innovative antidotes. Likewise, preserving favorable physico-chemical properties and antigen-binding activity is a challenge yet to be further addressed when considering pre-clinical trials.
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Sabrina Karim-Silva, Alessandra Becker-Finco, Isabella Gizzi Jiacomini, Fanny Boursin, Arnaud Leroy, et al.. Loxoscelism: Advances and Challenges in the Design of Antibody Fragments with Therapeutic Potential. Toxins, MDPI, 2020, 12 (4), 22 p. ⟨10.3390/toxins12040256⟩. ⟨mnhn-02552473⟩



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