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PLoS One. 2017 Apr 26;12(4):e0174916. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174916. eCollection 2017.

In vitro and in vivo antivirus activity of an anti-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) rat-bovine chimeric antibody against bovine leukemia virus infection.

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Department of Disease Control, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
Division of Bioresources, Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
Global Station for Zoonosis Control, Global Institution for Collaborative Research and Education (GI-CoRE), Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.
Animal Research Center, Agricultural Research Department, Hokkaido Research Organization, Shintoku, Japan.
Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.


Programmed death-1 (PD-1), an immunoinhibitory receptor on T cells, is known to be involved in immune evasion through its binding to PD-ligand 1 (PD-L1) in many chronic diseases. We previously found that PD-L1 expression was upregulated in cattle infected with bovine leukemia virus (BLV) and that an antibody that blocked the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction reactivated T-cell function in vitro. Therefore, this study assessed its antivirus activities in vivo. First, we inoculated the anti-bovine PD-L1 rat monoclonal antibody 4G12 into a BLV-infected cow. However, this did not induce T-cell proliferation or reduction of BLV provirus loads during the test period, and only bound to circulating IgM+ B cells until one week post-inoculation. We hypothesized that this lack of in vivo effects was due to its lower stability in cattle and so established an anti-PD-L1 rat-bovine chimeric antibody (Boch4G12). Boch4G12 was able to bind specifically with bovine PD-L1, interrupt the PD-1/PD-L1 interaction, and activate the immune response in both healthy and BLV-infected cattle in vitro. Therefore, we experimentally infected a healthy calf with BLV and inoculated it intravenously with 1 mg/kg of Boch4G12 once it reached the aleukemic (AL) stage. Cultivation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from the tested calf indicated that the proliferation of CD4+ T cells was increased by Boch4G12 inoculation, while BLV provirus loads were significantly reduced, clearly demonstrating that this treatment induced antivirus activities. Therefore, further studies using a large number of animals are required to support its efficacy for clinical application.

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