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MAbs. 2013 Nov-Dec;5(6):936-45. doi: 10.4161/mabs.26396.

Effect of a tail piece cysteine deletion on biochemical and functional properties of an epidermal growth factor receptor-directed IgA2m(1) antibody.

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Division of Stem Cell Transplantation and Immunotherapy, II; Department of Internal Medicine; Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.
Department of Immunology; Laboratory for Immunotherapy; University Medical Center Utrecht; Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Department of Internal Medicine IV, Nephrology and Hypertension; Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.
Ludger Ltd; Culham Science Centre; Oxford, United Kingdom.


Antibodies of human IgA isotype are critical components of the mucosal immune system, but little is known about their immunotherapeutic potential. Compared with IgG antibodies, IgA molecules carry a C-terminal tail piece extension of 18 amino acids with a free cysteine at position 471. This cysteine is required for the formation of dimeric IgA antibodies, but may impair molecular characteristics of monomeric IgA antibodies as therapeutic reagents. Thus, we generated and characterized a d471-mutated antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and compared it to its respective IgA2m(1) wild type antibody. Both wild type and mutated IgA antibodies demonstrated similar EGFR binding and were similarly efficient in inhibiting EGF binding and in blocking EGF-mediated cell proliferation. Recruitment of Fc-mediated effector functions like antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity by monocytes, macrophages or PMN was similar, but the d471-mutated IgA exhibited different biochemical properties compared with wild type antibody. As expected, mutated IgA did not form stable dimers in the presence of human joining (J)-chain, but we also observed reduced levels of dimeric aggregates in the absence of J-chain. Furthermore, glycoprofiling revealed different glycosylation patterns for both antibodies, including considerably less mannosylation of d471-mutated antibodies. Overall, our results demonstrate that the deletion of the C-terminal cysteine of IgA2 did not affect the investigated effector functions compared with wild type antibody, but it improved biochemical properties of an IgA2m(1) antibody against EGFR, and may thereby assist in exploring the immunotherapeutic potential of recombinant IgA antibodies.


Fc receptor; IgA; cytotoxicity; epidermal growth factor receptor; immunotherapy

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