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Characterization of a recombinant humanized anti-cocaine monoclonal antibody and its Fab fragment.

Variations of post-translational modifications are important for stability and in vivo behavior of therapeutic antibodies. A recombinant humanized anti-cocaine monoclonal antibody (h2E2) was characterized for heterogeneity of N-linked glycosylation and disulfide bonds. In addition, charge heterogeneity, which is partially due to the presence or absence of C-terminal lysine on the heavy chains, was examined. For cocaine overdose therapy, Fab fragments may be therapeutic, and thus, a simplified method of generation, purification, and characterization of the Fab fragment generated by Endoproteinase Lys-C digestion was devised. Both the intact h2E2 antibody and purified Fab fragments were analyzed for their affinities for cocaine and 2 of its metabolites, benzoylecgonine and cocaethylene, by fluorescence quenching of intrinsic antibody tyrosine and tryptophan fluorescence resulting from binding of these drugs. Binding constants obtained from fluorescence quenching measurements are in agreement with recently published radioligand and ELISA binding assays. The dissociation constants determined for the h2E2 monoclonal and its Fab fragment are approximately 1, 5, and 20 nM for cocaethylene, cocaine, and benzoylecgonine, respectively. Tryptophan fluorescence quenching (emission at 330 nm) was measured after either excitation of tyrosine and tryptophan (280 nm) or selective excitation of tryptophan alone (295 nm). More accurate binding constants are obtained using tryptophan selective excitation at 295 nm, likely due to interfering absorption of cocaine and metabolites at 280 nm. These quenching results are consistent with multiple tryptophan and tyrosine residues in or near the predicted binding location of cocaine in a previously published 3-D model of this antibody's variable region.

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A recombinant humanized anti-cocaine monoclonal antibody inhibits the distribution of cocaine to the brain in rats.

The monoclonal antibody (mAb), h2E2, is a humanized version of the chimeric human/murine anti-cocaine mAb 2E2. The recombinant h2E2 protein was produced in vitro from a transfected mammalian cell line and retained high affinity (4 nM Kd) and specificity for cocaine over its inactive metabolites benzoylecgonine (BE) and ecgonine methyl ester. In rats, pharmacokinetic studies of h2E2 (120 mg/kg i.v.) showed a long terminal elimination half-life of 9.0 days and a low volume of distribution at steady state (Vdss) of 0.3 l/kg. Pretreatment with h2E2 produced a dramatic 8.8-fold increase in the area under the plasma cocaine concentration-time curve (AUC) and in brain a concomitant decrease of 68% of cocaine's AUC following an i.v. injection of an equimolar cocaine dose. Sequestration of cocaine in plasma by h2E2, shown via reduction of cocaine's Vdss, indicates potential clinical efficacy. Although the binding of cocaine to h2E2 in plasma should inhibit distribution and metabolism, the elimination of cocaine remained multicompartmental and was still rapidly eliminated from plasma despite the presence of h2E2. BE was the major cocaine metabolite, and brain BE concentrations were sixfold higher than in plasma, indicating that cocaine is normally metabolized in the brain. In the presence of h2E2, brain BE concentrations were decreased and plasma BE was increased, consistent with the observed h2E2-induced changes in cocaine disposition. The inhibition of cocaine distribution to the brain confirms the humanized mAb, h2E2, as a lead candidate for development as an immunotherapy for cocaine abuse.

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Label-free SERS detection of relevant bioanalytes on silver-coated carbon nanotubes: The case of cocaine.

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy can be used for the label-free determination and quantification of relevant small biometabolites that are hard to identify by conventional immunological methods, in the absence of labelling. In this work, detection is based on monitoring the vibrational changes occurring at a specific biointerface (a monoclonal antibody, mAb) supported on silver-coated carbon nanotubes (CNT@Ag). Engineered CNT@Ag play a key role, as they offer a stable substrate to support the biointerface, with a high density of hot spots. Proof of concept is demonstrated through the analysis and quantification of the main cocaine metabolite benzoylecgonine. These results open a new avenue toward the generation of portable sensors for fast ultradetection and quantification of relevant metabolites. The use of discrete particles (CNT@Ag@mAb) rather than rough films, or other conventional SERS supports, will also enable a safe remote interrogation of highly toxic sources in environmental problems or in biological fluids.

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A molecular model for cocaine binding by the immunotherapeutic human/mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody 2E2.

Immunotherapy by cocaine-binding monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) has emerged as a promising strategy for the treatment of cocaine addiction. The human (gamma1 heavy chain)/murine (lambda light chain) chimeric mAb 2E2 has excellent affinity and specificity for cocaine and recent animal studies have demonstrated 2E2's ability in vivo to reduce cocaine levels in the brain as well as alter cocaine self-administration behavior in rats. In this study, we used mAb 2E2 amino acid sequence information to create a homology model for the 3-D structure of its Fv fragment. Subsequent computational docking studies revealed the intermolecular interactions potentially responsible for mAb 2E2's cocaine binding properties. The driving force of cocaine binding was identified as a combination of hydrophobic interactions and a single hydrogen bond between a light chain tyrosine residue and a carbonyl oxygen atom of cocaine. The model also allowed for an in silico evaluation of single/double residue mutations in the heavy and light chain variable regions that might further enhance mAb 2E2's cocaine binding properties.

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Molecular cloning and characterization of a single-chain variable fragment antibody specific for benzoylecgonine expressed in Escherichia coli.

Benzoylecgonine is a major metabolite of cocaine. We generated hybridoma cells (C1303) producing anti-benzoylecgonine monoclonal antibody (mAb) with a single-chain variable fragment (scFv) and an antigen-binding domain from the C1303 cells. Genes encoding an scFv antibody and constant region (Fc) were amplified from a cDNA library of C1303 cells using PCR. The two frameworks built for scFv and scFv-Fc consisted of HL [(heavy chain variable region, V(H)) - linker - (light chain variable region, V(L))] and HL-Fc, respectively. A 45 base-pair-long sequence encoding (Gly(4)-Ser)(3) was used as the linker, and the mouse IgG1 constant region sequence (225 amino acids) was used as the Fc domain. These two types of recombinant Abs were determined to be 750 bp in length (which corresponds to a 30 kDa protein) in the HL and 1,432 bp in length (which corresponds to a 65 kDa protein) in the HL-Fc, respectively. The parental Ab and HL-Fc affinities against benzoylecgonine were measured by ELISA and found to be nearly equal to the Ab concentration. We were also able to measure HL affinity using an agarose diffusion assay (Ouchterlony test). The affinity of the recombinant single-chain antibody against benzoylecgonine was sufficiently comparable to that of the parent antibodies to be used for the immunodetection of specific drug compounds or the detoxification of drug abusers by immunotherapy.

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Three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationship modeling of cocaine binding by a novel human monoclonal antibody.

Human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) designed for immunotherapy have a high potential for avoiding the complications that may result from human immune system responses to the introduction of nonhuman mAbs into patients. This study presents a characterization of cocaine/antibody interactions that determine the binding properties of the novel human sequence mAb 2E2 using three-dimensional quantitative structure-activity relationship (3D-QSAR) methodology. We have experimentally determined the binding affinities of mAb 2E2 for cocaine and 38 cocaine analogues. The K(d) of mAb 2E2 for cocaine was 4 nM, indicating a high affinity. Also, mAb 2E2 displayed good cocaine specificity, as reflected in its 10-, 1500-, and 25000-fold lower binding affinities for the three physiologically relevant cocaine metabolites benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methyl ester, and ecgonine, respectively. 3D-QSAR models of cocaine binding were developed by comparative molecular similarity index analysis (CoMSIA). A model of high statistical quality was generated showing that cocaine binds to mAb 2E2 in a sterically restricted binding site that leaves the methyl group attached to the ring nitrogen of cocaine solvent-exposed. The methyl ester group of cocaine appears to engage in attractive van der Waals interactions with mAb 2E2, whereas the phenyl group contributes to the binding primarily via hydrophobic interactions. The model further indicated that an increase in partial positive charge near the nitrogen proton and methyl ester carbonyl group enhances binding affinity and that the ester oxygen likely forms an intermolecular hydrogen bond with mAb 2E2. Overall, the cocaine binding properties of mAb 2E2 support its clinical potential for development as a treatment of cocaine overdose and addiction.

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Highly sensitive detection of cocaine using a piezoelectric immunosensor.

This paper describes the development of a highly sensitive competitive immunoassay with the piezoelectric sensor. The immobilized derivative of cocaine was benzoylecgonine-1,8-diamino-3,4-dioxaoctane (BZE-DADOO). For the immobilization of BZE-DADOO, the conjugate BZE-DADOO with 11-mercaptomonoundecanoic acid (MUA) was synthesized via 2-(5-norbornen-2,3-dicarboximide)-1,1,3,3-tetramethyluronium-tetrafluoroborate (TNTU), followed by the creation of the conjugate monolayer on the piezosensor electrodes. For the optimization of the competitive assay we used electrodes with rough or smooth gold areas and for the interaction with immobilized antigen different anti-cocaine sheep polyclonal (pAb, either whole IgG or Fab fragment) and mouse monoclonal (mAb, whole IgG) antibodies. The assay of cocaine developed achieved a detection limit (LOD) of 100 pmol/l (34 ng/l) using the sheep antibody (IgG) and piezoelectric sensors with a smooth gold surface. The total time of one analysis was 15 min and the measuring area of the sensor could be used more than 40 times without losing its sensitivity.

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A sensitive solid-phase fluoroimmunoassay for detection of opiates in urine.

An automated flow fluorometer designed for kinetic binding analysis was adapted to develop a solid-phase competitive fluoroimmunoassay for urinalysis of opiates. The solid phase consisted of polymer beads coated with commercial monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) raised against morphine. Fluorescein-conjugated morphine (FL-MOR) was used as the fluorescein-labeled hapten. The dissociation equilibrium constant (K(D)) for the binding of FL-MOR to the anti-MOR MAb was 0.23 nM. The binding of FL-MOR to the anti-MOR MAb reached steady state within minutes and was displaced effectively by morphine and other opiates. Morphine-3-glucuronide (M3G), the major urinary metabolite of heroin and morphine, competed effectively with FL-MOR in a concentration-dependent manner for binding to the antimorphine MAb and was therefore used to construct the calibration curve. The sensitivity of the assay was 0.2 ng/mL for M3G. The assay was effective at concentrations of M3G from 0.2 to 50 ng/mL, with an IC50 of 2 ng/mL. Other opiates and heroin metabolites that showed >50% crossreactivity when present at 1 microg/mL included codeine, morphine-6-glucuronide, and oxycodone. Methadone showed very low crossreactivity (<5%), which is a benefit for testing in patients being treated for opiate addictions. The high sensitivity of the assay and the relatively high cutoff value for positive opiate tests allows very small sample volumes (e.g., in saliva or sweat) to be analyzed. A double-blind comparison using 205 clinical urine samples showed good agreement between this single-step competitive assay and a commercially performed enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique for the detection of opiates and benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine).

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A rapid reusable fiber optic biosensor for detecting cocaine metabolites in urine.

Analyte 2000, a four-channel fiber optic biosensor (FOB), was used for analysis of cocaine and its metabolites (COC) in human urine using a competitive fluorescence immunoassay. Binding of antibenzoylecgonine monoclonal antibody (mAb) to the casein-benzoylecgonine Ag-coated, tapered optical fibers was inhibited by COC. Bound mAb, which inversely correlated with COC concentration, was quantitated by fluorescence produced by evanescent excitation of bound cyanine dye-tagged antimouse antibody (CY5-Ab). The effective concentration range of benzoylecgonine (BE) for inhibiting the fluorescent signals was 0.75-50 ng/mL, with IC50 of 9.0 ng/mL. This FOB had similar affinities for BE, cocaine, and cocaethylene, but very low affinities for ecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester. A sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 96% were achieved when 54 human urine specimens were analyzed by FOB (cutoff, 300 ng/mL COC) and GC-MS (cutoff, 150 ng/mL BE). All results were in agreement except for one positive FOB result with a GC-MS BE concentration of 148 ng/mL. In addition, regeneration and reuse of the fiber for multiple analyses were performed successfully with no carryover from specimens containing high COC concentrations to specimens containing low COC concentrations.

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Assessment of an automated solid phase competitive fluoroimmunoassay for benzoylecgonine in untreated urine.

A new solid phase fluoroimmunoassay using a fully automated flow fluorometer adapted for urinalysis of drug metabolites is described. Fluorescein-conjugated benzoylecgonine (FL-BE) and monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against benzoylecgonine (BE) were the reagents used for demonstration. The solid phase consisted of anti-BE mAbs immobilized on the surface of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) beads. Free BE in solution competed with FL-BE and reduced bead-bound fluorescence in a concentration-dependent manner. The binding of FL-BE to the anti-BE mAb reached steady-state within minutes. FL-BE was not bound by uncoated beads nor beads coated with non-specific proteins or IgG. The signal-to-noise ratio was 33, and the sensitivity of the assay was 2 ng ml(-1) for BE. The effective concentration of BE was 1 to 100 ng ml(-1), with an IC50 value of 12 ng ml(-1). The mAb showed equal affinities for BE, cocaine, and cocaethylene, but a five order-of-magnitude lower affinity for ecgonine and ecgonine methylester. In a double-blind comparison using clinical urine samples, the data from this single-step competitive assay had excellent agreement with results obtained using a fiber-optic biosensor (FOB), and the EMIT assay performed commercially. The assay provided kinetic data rapidly and can be used to detect small analytes for which antibodies and fluorescein conjugates are available. The affinity of the mAb for FL-BE, calculated from kinetic analysis of the time course of the on and off reaction, was 2.25 x 10(-9) M.

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