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Exp Mol Pathol. 2011 Dec;91(3):723-32. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2011.05.011. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Antibodies to cell surface proteins redirect intracellular trafficking pathways.

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Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Antibody-mediated intracellular delivery of therapeutic agents has been considered for treatment of a variety of diseases. These approaches involve targeting cell-surface receptor proteins expressed by tumors or viral proteins expressed on infected cells. We examined the intracellular trafficking of a viral cell-surface-expressed protein, rabies G, with or without binding a specific antibody, ARG1. We found that antibody binding shifts the native intracellular trafficking pathway of rabies G in an Fc-independent manner. Kinetic studies indicate that the ARG1/rabies G complex progressively co-localized with clathrin, early endosomes, late endosomes, and lysosomes after addition to cells. This pathway was different from that taken by rabies G without addition of antibody, which localized with recycling endosomes. Findings were recapitulated using a cellular receptor with a well-defined endogenous recycling pathway. We conclude that antibody binding to cell-surface proteins induces redirection of intracellular trafficking of unbound or ligand bound receptors to a specific degradation pathway. These findings have broad implications for future developments of antibody-based therapeutics.

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