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Nanobody-mediated complement activation to kill HIV-infected cells

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The complement system which is part of the innate immune response against invading pathogens represents a powerful mechanism for killing of infected cells. Utilizing direct complement recruitment for complement-mediated elimination of HIV-1-infected cells is underexplored. We developed a novel therapeutic modality to direct complement activity to the surface of HIV-1-infected cells. This bispecific complement engager (BiCE) is comprised of a nanobody recruiting the complement-initiating protein C1q, and single-chain variable fragments of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) targeting the HIV-1 envelope (Env) protein. Here, we show that two anti-HIV BiCEs targeting the V3 loop and the CD4 binding site, respectively, increase C3 deposition and mediate complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) of HIV-1 Env-expressing Raji cells. Furthermore, anti-HIV BiCEs trigger complement activation on primary CD4 T cells infected with laboratory-adapted HIV-1 strain and facilitates elimination of HIV-1-infected cells over time. In summary, we present a novel approach to direct complement deposition to the surface of HIV-1-infected cells leading to complement-mediated killing of these cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16422
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.

    Research areas

  • HIV-1, bispecific complement engager, complement, immunotherapy, nanobody

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