Structural Insights into Rational Design of Single-Domain Antibody-Based Antitoxins against Botulinum Neurotoxins.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cell Rep, Volume 30, Issue 8, p.2526-2539.e6 (2020)


<p>Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is one of the most acutely lethal toxins known to humans, and effective treatment for BoNT intoxication is urgently needed. Single-domain antibodies (VHH) have been examined as a countermeasure for BoNT because of their high stability and ease of production. Here, we investigate the structures and the neutralization mechanisms for six unique VHHs targeting BoNT/A1 or BoNT/B1. These studies reveal diverse neutralizing mechanisms by which VHHs prevent host receptor binding or block transmembrane delivery of the BoNT protease domain. Guided by this knowledge, we design heterodimeric VHHs by connecting two neutralizing VHHs via a flexible spacer so they can bind simultaneously to the toxin. These bifunctional VHHs display much greater potency in a mouse co-intoxication model than similar heterodimers unable to bind simultaneously. Taken together, our studies offer insight into antibody neutralization of BoNTs and advance our ability to design multivalent anti-pathogen VHHs with improved therapeutic properties.</p>

6UHT, 6UL4, 6UC6, 6UL6