• Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) Neutralizers of TcdB from Clostridium difficile Ribotype 027

      Peng, Z.; Simeon, R.; Feng, H. (American Society for Microbiology, 2019)
      Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is a leading cause of hospital-acquired diarrhea. In recent decades, the emergence of the “hypervirulent” BI/NAP1/027 strains of C. difficile significantly increased the morbidity and mortality of CDI. The pathogenesis of CDI is primarily mediated by the action of two toxins, TcdA and TcdB, with TcdB being the major virulent factor in humans. In this report, we describe the engineering of a panel of designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) that potently neutralize TcdB from the BI/NAP1/027 strains (e.g., TcdBUK1). The most effective DARPin, D16, inhibits TcdBUK1 with a 50% effective concentration (EC50) of 0.5 nM, which is >66-fold lower than that of the FDA-approved anti-TcdB antibody bezlotoxumab (EC50, ∼33 nM). Competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) showed that D16 blocks interactions between TcdB and its receptor, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4 (CSPG4). The dimeric DARPin U3D16, which pairs D16 with DARPin U3, a disrupter of the interaction of TcdB with Frizzled 1/2/7 receptor, exhibits 10-fold-to-20-fold-enhanced neutralization potency against TcdB from C. difficile strains VPI 10463 (laboratory strain) and M68 (CF/NAP9/017) but identical activity against TcdBUK1 relative to D16. Subsequent ELISAs revealed that TcdBUK1 did not significantly interact with Frizzled 1/2/7. Computation modeling revealed 4 key differences at the Frizzled 1/2/7 binding interface which are likely responsible for the significantly reduced binding affinity. IMPORTANCE: We report the engineering and characterization of designed ankyrin proteins as potent neutralizers of TcdB toxin secreted by a hypervirulent ribotype 027 strain of Clostridium difficile. We further show that although TcdB toxins from both ribotype 027 and VPI 10461 interact efficiently with TcdB receptors CSPG4 and Pvrl3, TcdB027 lacks significant ability to bind the only known physiologically relevant TcdB receptor, Frizzled 1/2/7. Copyright 2019 Peng et al.
    • Lyophilized plasma attenuates vascular permeability, inflammation and lung injury in hemorrhagic shock

      Pati, S.; Peng, Z.; Wataha, K. (Public Library of Science, 2018)
      In severe trauma and hemorrhage the early and empiric use of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is associated with decreased morbidity and mortality. However, utilization of FFP comes with the significant burden of shipping and storage of frozen blood products. Dried or lyophilized plasma (LP) can be stored at room temperature, transported easily, reconstituted rapidly with ready availability in remote and austere environments. We have previously demonstrated that FFP mitigates the endothelial injury that ensues after hemorrhagic shock (HS). In the current study, we sought to determine whether LP has similar properties to FFP in its ability to modulate endothelial dysfunction in vitro and in vivo. Single donor LP was compared to single donor FFP using the following measures of endothelial cell (EC) function in vitro: permeability and transendothelial monolayer resistance; adherens junction preservation; and leukocyte-EC adhesion. In vivo, using a model of murine HS, LP and FFP were compared in measures of HS- induced pulmonary vascular inflammation and edema. Both in vitro and in vivo in all measures of EC function, LP demonstrated similar effects to FFP. Both FFP and LP similarly reduced EC permeability, increased transendothelial resistance, decreased leukocyte-EC binding and persevered adherens junctions. In vivo, LP and FFP both comparably reduced pulmonary injury, inflammation and vascular leak. Both FFP and LP have similar potent protective effects on the vascular endothelium in vitro and in lung function in vivo following hemorrhagic shock. These data support the further development of LP as an effective plasma product for human use after trauma and hemorrhagic shock. Copyright 2018 Pati et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.