IgA antibodies constitute an important part of the mucosal immune system, but their immunotherapeutic potential remains rather unexplored, in part due to biotechnological issues. For example, the IgA2m(1) allotype carries an unusual heavy and light chain pairing, which may confer production and stability concerns. Here, we report the generation and the biochemical and functional characterization of a P221R-mutated IgA2m(1) antibody against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Compared with wild type, the mutated antibody demonstrated heavy chains covalently linked to light chains in monomeric as well as in joining (J)-chain containing dimeric IgA. Functional studies with wild type and mutated IgA2m(1) revealed similar binding to EGFR and direct effector functions such as EGFR down-modulation and growth inhibition. Furthermore, both IgA molecules triggered similar levels of indirect tumor cell killing such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) by isolated monocytes, activated polymor-phonuclear cells, and human whole blood. Interestingly, the dimeric IgA antibodies demonstrated higher efficiency in direct as well as in indirect effector mechanisms compared with their respective monomeric forms. Both wild type and mutated antibody triggered effective FcαRI-mediated tumor cell killing by macrophages already at low effector to target cell ratios. Interestingly, also polarized macrophages mediated significant IgA2- mediated ADCC. M2 macrophages, which have been described as promoting tumor growth and progression, may convert to ADCC-mediating effector cells in the presence of EGFR-directed antibodies. In conclusion, these results provide further insight into the immunotherapeutic potential of recombinant IgA antibodies for tumor immunotherapy and suggest macrophages as an additional effector cell population.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)