Construction and characterization of a fusion protein of single-chain anti-CD20 antibody and human β-glucuronidase for antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy

Hidde J. Haisma*, M. Fleur Sernee, Erik Hooijberg, Ruud H. Brakenhoff, Ida H.V.D. Meulen-Muileman, Herbert M. Pinedo, Epie Boven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The CD20 antigen is an attractive target for specific treatment of B- cell lymphoma. Antibody-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (ADEPT) aims at the specific activation of a nontoxic prodrug at the tumor site by an enzyme targeted by a tumor-specific antibody such as anti-CD20. We constructed a fusion protein of the single-chain Fv anti-CD20 mouse monoclonal antibody (MoAb) 1H4 and human β-glucuronidase for the activation of the nontoxic prodrug N-[4-doxorubicin-N-carbonyl(-oxymethyl) phenyl] O-β-glucuronyl carbamate to doxorubicin at the tumor site. The cDNAs encoding the light- and heavy-chain variable regions of 1H4 were cloned, joined by a synthetic sequence encoding a 15-amino acid linker and fused to human β-glucuronidase by a synthetic sequence encoding a 6-amino acid linker. An antibody-enzyme fusion protein-producing cell line was established by transfection of the construct into human embryonic kidney 293/EBNA cells. The yield of active fusion protein was 100 ng/mL transfectoma supernatant. Antibody affinity, antibody specificity, and enzyme activity were fully retained by the fusion protein. Immunoprecipitation and analysis by sodium dodecyl sulfate- polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) showed that the fusion protein has a relative molecular weight (Mw) of 100 kD under denaturing conditions. Gel filtration analysis indicated that the enzymatically active form of the fusion protein is a tetramer with an Mw of approximately 400 kD. The nontoxic prodrug N-[4-doxorubicin-N-carbonyl(-oxymethyl) phenyl] O-β-glucuronyl carbamate was hydrolyzed by the fusion protein at a hydrolysis rate similar to that of human β-glucuronidase. When the fusion protein was specifically bound to Daudi lymphoma cells, the prodrug induced similar antiproliferative effects as doxorubicin. Thus, it is feasible to construct a eukaryotic fusion protein consisting of a single-chain anti-CD2O antibody and human β- glucuronidase for future use in the activation of anticancer prodrugs in B- cell lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-190
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1998

Cite this