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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Feb 19;110(8):2999-3004. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222742110. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Engineering a lysosomal enzyme with a derivative of receptor-binding domain of apoE enables delivery across the blood-brain barrier.

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  • 1Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


To realize the potential of large molecular weight substances to treat neurological disorders, novel approaches are required to surmount the blood-brain barrier (BBB). We investigated whether fusion of a receptor-binding peptide from apolipoprotein E (apoE) with a potentially therapeutic protein can bind to LDL receptors on the BBB and be transcytosed into the CNS. A lysosomal enzyme, α-L-iduronidase (IDUA), was used for biological and therapeutic evaluation in a mouse model of mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type I, one of the most common lysosomal storage disorders with CNS deficits. We identified two fusion candidates, IDUAe1 and IDUAe2, by in vitro screening, that exhibited desirable receptor-mediated binding, endocytosis, and transendothelial transport as well as appropriate lysosomal enzyme trafficking and biological function. Robust peripheral IDUAe1 or IDUAe2 generated by transient hepatic expression led to elevated enzyme levels in capillary-depleted, enzyme-deficient brain tissues and protein delivery into nonendothelium perivascular cells, neurons, and astrocytes within 2 d of treatment. Moreover, 5 mo after long-term delivery of moderate levels of IDUAe1 derived from maturing red blood cells, 2% to 3% of normal brain IDUA activities were obtained in MPS I mice, and IDUAe1 protein was detected in neurons and astrocytes throughout the brain. The therapeutic potential was demonstrated by normalization of brain glycosaminoglycan and β-hexosaminidase in MPS I mice 5 mo after moderate yet sustained delivery of IDUAe1. These findings provide a noninvasive and BBB-targeted procedure for the delivery of large-molecule therapeutic agents to treat neurological lysosomal storage disorders and potentially other diseases that involve the brain.

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