Novel Chemokine-Based Immunotoxins for Potent and Selective Targeting of Cytomegalovirus Infected Cells

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Immunotoxins as antiviral therapeutics are largely unexplored but have promising prospective due to their high selectivity potential and their unparalleled efficiency. One recent example targeted the virus-encoded G protein-coupled receptor US28 as a strategy for specific and efficient treatment of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections. US28 is expressed on virus-infected cells and scavenge chemokines by rapid internalization. The chemokine-based fusion-toxin protein (FTP) consisted of a variant (F49A) of CX3CL1 specifically targeting US28 linked to the catalytic domain of Pseudomonas exotoxin A (PE). Here, we systematically seek to improve F49A-FTP by modifications in its three structural domains; we generated variants with (1) altered chemokine sequence (K14A, F49L, and F49E), (2) shortened and elongated linker region, and (3) modified toxin domain. Only F49L-FTP displayed higher selectivity in its binding to US28 versus CX3CR1, the endogenous receptor for CX3CL1, but this was not matched by a more selective killing of US28-expressing cells. A longer linker and different toxin variants decreased US28 affinity and selective killing. Thereby, F49A-FTP represents the best candidate for HCMV treatment. Many viruses encode internalizing receptors suggesting that not only HCMV but also, for instance, Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus may be targeted by FTPs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4069260
JournalJournal of Immunology Research
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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