The anti-CD20 mAb Rituximab has revolutionized lymphoma therapy, in spite of a number of unresponsive or relapsing patients. Immunotoxins, consisting of toxins coupled to antibodies, are being investigated for their potential ability to augment Rituximab efficacy. Here, we compare the anti-tumor effect of high- and low-molecular-weight Rituximab/saporin-S6 immunotoxins, named HMW-IT and LMW-IT, respectively. Saporin-S6 is a potent and stable plant enzyme belonging to ribosome-inactivating proteins that causes protein synthesis arrest and consequent cell death. Saporin-S6 was conjugated to Rituximab through an artificial disulfide bond. The inhibitory activity of HMW-IT and LMW-IT was evaluated on cell-free protein synthesis and in two CD20+
lymphoma cell lines, Raji and D430B. Two different conjugates were separated on the basis of their molecular weight and further characterized. Both HMW-IT (dimeric) and LMW-IT (monomeric) maintained a high level of enzymatic activity in a cell-free system. HMW-IT, thanks to a higher toxin payload and more efficient antigen capping, showed stronger in vitro
anti-tumor efficacy than LMW-IT against lymphoma cells. Dimeric HMW-IT can be used for lymphoma therapy at least for ex vivo
treatments. The possibility of using HMW-IT augments the yield in immunotoxin preparation and allows the targeting of antigens with low internalization rates.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited