Antibody chemical reactivity: Beneficial and pathogenic roles

Stephanie Andree Planque, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Antibodies (Abs) to autoantigens and foreign antigens (Ags) mediate, respectively, various pathogenic and beneficial effects. Abs express enzyme-like nucleophiles that react covalently with electrophiles. A subpopulation of nucleophilic Abs expresses proteolytic activity, which can inactivate the Ag permanently. This thesis shows how the nucleophilicity can be exploited to inhibit harmful Abs or potentially protect against a virus. Inactivation of pathogenic Abs from Hemophilia A (HA) patients by means of nucleophile-electrophile pairing was studied. Deficient factor VIII (FVIII) in HA subjects impairs blood coagulation. FVIII replacement therapy fails in 20-30% of HA patients due to production of anti-FVIII Abs. FVIII analogs containing electrophilic phosphonate group (E-FVIII and E-C2) were hypothesized to inactivate the Abs by reacting specifically and covalently with nucleophilic sites. Anti-FVIII IgGs from HA patients formed immune complexes with E-FVIII and E-C2 that remained irreversibly associated under conditions that disrupt noncovalent Ab-Ag complexes. The reaction induced irreversible loss of Ab anti-coagulant activity. E-FVIII alone displayed limited interference with coagulation. E-FVIII is a prototype reagent suitable for further development as a selective inactivator of pathogenic anti-FVIII Abs. The beneficial function of Abs to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) was analyzed. HIV-1 eludes the immune system by rapidly changing its coat protein structure. IgAs from noninfected subjects hydrolyzed gp120 and neutralized HIV-1 with modest potency by recognizing the gp120 421-433 epitope, a conserved B cell superantigenic region that is also essential for HIV-1 attachment to host cell CD4 receptors. An adaptive immune response to superantigens is generally prohibited due to their ability to downregulate B cells. IgAs from subjects with prolonged HIV-1 infection displayed improved catalytic hydrolysis of gp120 and exceptionally potent and broad neutralization of diverse CCR5-dependent primary HIV isolates attributable to recognition of the 421-433 epitope. This indicates that slow immunological bypass of the superantigenic character of gp120 is possible, opening the path to effective HIV vaccination. My research reveals a novel route to inactivate pathogenic nucleophilic Abs using electrophilic antigens. Conversely, naturally occurring nucleophilic Abs may help impede HIV infection, and the Abs could be developed for passive immunotherapy of HIV infected subjects.

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Recommended Citation

Planque, Stephanie Andree, "Antibody chemical reactivity: Beneficial and pathogenic roles" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3339606.