Human butyrylcholinesterase (huBuChE) has potential utility as a post-exposure therapy following percutaneous nerve agent poisoning as there is a slower absorption of agent by this route and hence a later onset of poisoning. METHODS.?We used surgically implanted radiotelemetry devices to monitor heart rate, EEG, body temperature and locomotor activity in guinea pigs challenged with VX via the percutaneous route. RESULTS.?Treatment with huBuChE (24.2 mg/kg, i.m.) at 30 or 120 min following percutaneous VX (~2.5 × LD(50)) protected 9 out of 10 animals from lethality. When i.m. huBuChE administration was delayed until the onset of observable signs of systemic cholinergic poisoning, only one out of six animals survived to 7 days. Survival increased to 50% when the same dose of huBuChE was given intravenously at the onset of signs of poisoning. This dose represents approximately 1/10th the stoichiometric equivalent of the dose of VX administered (0.74 mg/kg). Intramuscular administration of huBuChE (24.2 mg/kg) alone did not produce any changes in heart rate, brain electrical activity, temperature or locomotion compared to saline control. Survival following VX and huBuChE treatment was associated with minimal incapacitation and observable signs of poisoning, and the mitigation or prevention of detrimental physiological changes (e.g. seizure, bradycardia and hypothermia) observed in VX + saline-treated animals. At 7 days, cholinesterase activity in the erythrocytes and most brain areas of guinea pigs that received huBuChE at either 18 h prior to or 30 min following VX was not significantly different from that of naïve, weight-matched control animals. CONCLUSION.?Percutaneous VX poisoning was successfully treated using post-exposure therapy with huBuChE bioscavenger. The opportunity for post-exposure treatment may have particular relevance in civilian settings, and this is a promising indication for the use of huBuChE.
The concept of using cholinesterase bioscavengers for prophylaxis against organophosphorous nerve agents and pesticides has progressed from the bench to clinical trial. However, the supply of the native human proteins is either limited (e.g., plasma-derived butyrylcholinesterase and erythrocytic acetylcholinesterase) or nonexisting (synaptic acetylcholinesterase). Here we identify a unique form of recombinant human butyrylcholinesterase that mimics the native enzyme assembly into tetramers; this form provides extended effective pharmacokinetics that is significantly enhanced by polyethylene glycol conjugation. We further demonstrate that this enzyme (but not a G117H/E197Q organophosphorus acid anhydride hydrolase catalytic variant) can prevent morbidity and mortality associated with organophosphorous nerve agent and pesticide exposure of animal subjects of two model species.
The administration of purified human plasma-derived butyrylcholinesterase (HuBuChE) as a pretreatment has been demonstrated to enhance survival and protect against decreased cognitive function after exposure to organophosphorus poisons (OPs). Based on efficacy data obtained with guinea pigs and non-human primates and the lack of behavioral side effects, plasma-derived HuBuChE has been granted investigational new drug status by the US Food and Drug Administration. The recent availability of a recombinant form of HuBuChE (rHuBuChE) from the milk of transgenic goats has now allowed us to determine the pharmacokinetics of that material in guinea pigs and use it as a therapy following exposure to the VX. The rHuBuChE was expressed as a dimer and following intramuscular (i.m.) administration had more a rapid adsorption and clearance profile in guinea pigs than the plasma-derived material. Based on those data, we administered rHuBuChE i.m. 1h after a percutaneous exposure of guinea pigs to either 2xLD(50) or 5xLD(50) of VX. Post-exposure therapy with rHuBuChE provided improved survival at both challenge levels, 90% and 33% respectively versus 20% or 0% respectively for animals that did not receive therapy. These studies showed that BuChE can be efficacious as a therapy against percutaneous exposure to VX.
The enzyme human paraoxonase 1 (huPON1) has demonstrated significant potential for use as a bioscavenger for treatment of exposure to organophosphorus (OP) nerve agents. Herein we report the development of protein models for the human isoform derived from a crystal structure of a chimeric version of the protein (pdb ID: 1V04) and a homology model derived from the related enzyme diisopropylfluorophosphatase (pdb ID: 1XHR). From these structural models, binding modes for OP substrates are predicted, and these poses are found to orient substrates in proximity to residues known to modulate specificity of the enzyme. Predictions are made with regard to the role that residues play in altering substrate binding and turnover, in particular with regard to the stereoselectivity of the enzyme, and the known differences in activity related to a natural polymorphism in the enzyme. Potential mechanisms of action of the protein for catalytic hydrolysis of OP substrates are also evaluated in light of the proposed binding modes.
Expression and purification of recombinant human paraoxonase-1 (rHuPON1) from bacterial systems have proven elusive. Most systems for successful production of recombinant PON1 have relied on either eukaryotic expression in baculovirus or prokaryotic expression of synthetic, gene-shuffled rabbit-mouse-human PON1 hybrid molecules. We review here methods and protocols for the production of pure, native rHuPON1 using an E. coli expression system followed by conventional column chromatographic purification. The resulting rHuPON1 is stable, active, and capable of protecting PON1 knockout mice (PON1(-/-)) from exposure to high levels of the organophosphorus (OP) compound diazoxon. Bacterially-derived rHuPON1 can be produced in large quantities and lacks the glycosylation of eukaryotic systems that produces immunogenic complications when used as a therapeutic. The rHuPON1 should be useful for treating insecticide OP exposures and reducing risks of other diseases resulting from low PON1 status. The ease of mutagenesis in bacterial systems will also allow for the generation and screening of rHuPON1 variants with enhanced catalytic efficiencies against nerve agents and other OP compounds.
The physiological effects of human plasma-derived butyrylcholinesterase (huBuChE) administration and its modulation of the effects of percutaneous VX challenge are poorly understood. Percutaneously administered nerve agents are more slowly absorbed than inhaled agents; consequently, signs of poisoning occur later, with a longer duration. Telemetry was used to monitor heart rate, EEG, temperature and activity in guinea-pigs. Treatment with huBuChE at 30 or 120 min following percutaneous VX challenge ( approximately 2.5 x LD(50)) provided 100% protection from lethality. When huBuChE administration was delayed until the onset of observable signs of poisoning only 1 out of 6 animals survived to the end of the experiment at 7 days. This study adds to the body of evidence demonstrating the efficacy of huBuChE in animals by describing the successful therapeutic use of a protein bioscavenger as a post-exposure treatment against dermal exposure to VX up to 2h post-exposure. This study simultaneously used telemetric methods to show that the efficacy of huBuChE is linked to the prevention of detrimental physiological changes observed in control VX-treated animals. Post-exposure therapy is a promising additional indication for the concept of use of this material, and one that has particular relevance in a civilian exposure scenario.
Human serum paraoxonase-1 (HuPON1) is difficult to either purify from plasma or functionally express in high yield from recombinant sources. Here, we describe the characterization of functional HuPON1 expressed and purified from Trichoplusia ni (T. ni) larvae infected with an orally active form of baculovirus. SDS-PAGE and anti-HuPON1 Western blot analyses yielded only three bands of approximately 41, 42, and 44 kDa. MALDI-TOF confirmed the identity of each of these bands as HuPON1 with greater than 95% confidence. These isoforms result from differential glycosylation of the enzyme as indicated by peptide mapping, mass analysis, and PNGase F deglycosylation experiments. Recombinant insect-produced HuPON1 hydrolyzed phenyl acetate, paraoxon, and the nerve agents GF, VX, and VR. The enzyme had dramatic stereoselectivity for the P+ isomers of VX and VR. T. ni larvae expressing HuPON1 were remarkably resistant to the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Together, these results demonstrate that the caterpillar of the T. ni moth can be used as an expression system to produce large quantities of functional recombinant HuPON1. Insect production of HuPON1 may provide a source for both in vitro enzymatic and crystallographic studies and in vivo stability and anti-nerve agent efficacy testing.
Pyridostigmine bromide (PB) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2003 as a pretreatment in humans against the lethal effects of the irreversible nerve agent soman (GD). Organophosphate (OP) chemical warfare agents such as GD exert their toxic effects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE) from terminating the action of acetylcholine at postsynaptic sites in cholinergic nerve terminals (including crucial peripheral muscle such as diaphragm). As part of the post-marketing approval of PB, the FDA required (under 21CFR314, the "two animal rule") the study of a non-human primate model (the common marmoset Callithrix jacchus jacchus) to demonstrate increased survival against lethal GD poisoning, and protection of physiological hemi-diaphragm function after PB pretreatment and subsequent GD exposure. Marmosets (male and female) were placed in the following experimental groups: (i) control (saline pretreatment only), (ii) low dose PB (12.5 microg/kg), or (iii) high dose (39.5 microg/kg) PB. Thirty minutes after the PB dose, animals were challenged with either saline (control) or soman (GD, 45 microg/kg), followed 1 min later by atropine (2mg/kg) and 2-PAM (25mg/kg). After a further 16 min, animals were euthanized and the complete diaphragm removed; the right hemi-diaphragm was frozen immediately at -80 degrees C, and the left hemi-diaphragm was placed in a tissue bath for 4h (to allow for decarbamylation to occur), then frozen. AChE activities were determined using the automated WRAIR cholinesterase assay. Blood samples were collected for AChE activities prior to PB, before GD challenge, and after sacrifice. RBC-AChE was inhibited by approximately 18% and 50% at the low and high doses of PB, respectively, compared to control (baseline) activity. In the absence of PB pretreatment, the inhibition of RBC-AChE by GD was 98%. The recovery of hemi-diaphragm AChE activity after the 4h wash period (decarbamylation) was approximately 8% and 17%, at the low and high PB doses, respectively, compared with the baseline (control) AChE activity prior to PB pretreatment or soman exposure. The results suggest that PB pretreatment protects a critical fraction of AChE activity in the marmoset diaphragm, which is sufficient to allow the animal to breathe despite exposure to a dose of soman that is lethal in unprotected animals.
Poisoning via organophosphorus (OP) nerve agents occurs when the OP binds and inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). This enzyme is responsible for the metabolism of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) which transmits signals between nerves and several key somatic regions. When AChE is inhibited, the signal initiated by ACh is not properly terminated. Excessive levels of ACh result in a cholinergic crisis, and in severe cases can lead to death. Current treatments for OP poisoning involve the administration of atropine, which blocks ACh receptors, and oximes, which reactivate AChE after inhibition. Efforts to improve the safety, efficacy, and broad spectrum utility of these treatments are ongoing and usually require the use of appropriate animal model systems. For OP poisoning, the guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) is a commonly used animal model because guinea pigs more closely mirror primate susceptibility to OP poisoning than do other animals such as rats and mice. This is most likely because among rodents and other small mammals, guinea pigs have a very low relative concentration of serum carboxylesterase, an enzyme known to bind OPs in vitro and to act as an endogenous bioscavenger in vivo. Although guinea pigs historically have been used to test OP poisoning therapies, it has been found recently that guinea pig AChE is substantially more resistant to oxime-mediated reactivation than human AChE. To examine the molecular basis for this difference, we reverse transcribed mRNA encoding guinea pig AChE, amplified the resulting cDNA, and sequenced this product. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of guinea pig AChE were then compared to the human version. Several amino acid differences were noted, and the predicted locations of these differences were mapped onto a structural model of human AChE. To examine directly how these differences affect oxime-mediated reactivation of AChE after inhibition by OPs, human and guinea pig red blood cell ghosts were prepared and used as sources of AChE, and the relative capacity of several different oximes to reactivate each OP-inhibited AChE were determined. The differences we report between human and guinea pig AChE raise additional concerns about the suitability of the guinea pig as an appropriate small animal model to approximate human responses to OP poisoning and therapies.
Human serum paraoxonase-1 (HuPON1) has the capacity to hydrolyze aryl esters, lactones, oxidized phospholipids, and organophosphorus (OP) compounds. HuPON1 and bacterially expressed chimeric recombinant PON1s (G2E6 and G3C9) differ by multiple amino acids, none of which are in the putative enzyme active site. To address the importance of these amino acid differences, the abilities of HuPON1, G2E6, G3C9, and several variants to hydrolyze phenyl acetate, paraoxon, and V-type OP nerve agents were examined. HuPON1 and G2E6 have a 10-fold greater catalytic efficiency toward phenyl acetate than G3C9. In contrast, bacterial PON1s are better able to promote hydrolysis of paraoxon, whereas HuPON1 is considerably better at catalyzing the hydrolysis of nerve agents VX and VR. These studies demonstrate that mutations distant from the active site of PON1 have large and unpredictable effects on the substrate specificities and possibly the hydrolytic mechanisms of HuPON1, G2E6, and G3C9. The replacement of residue H115 in the putative active site with tryptophan (H115W) has highly disparate effects on HuPON1 and G2E6. In HuPON1, variant H115W loses the ability to hydrolyze VR but has improved activity toward paraoxon and VX. The H115W variant of G2E6 has paraoxonase activity similar to that of wild-type G2E6, modest activity with phenyl acetate and VR, and enhanced VX hydrolysis. VR inhibits H115W HuPON1 competitively when paraoxon is the substrate and noncompetitively when VX is the substrate. We have identified the first variant of HuPON1, H115W, that displays significantly enhanced catalytic activity against an authentic V-type nerve agent.
Twelve rounds of systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) were conducted against a magnetic bead conjugate of the para-aminophenylpinacolylmethylphosphonate (PAPMP) derivative of the organophosphorus (OP) nerve agent soman (GD). The goal was to develop DNA aptamers that could scavenge GD in vivo, thereby reducing or eliminating the toxic effects of this dangerous compound. Aptamers were sequenced and screened in peroxidase-based colorimetric plate assays after rounds 8 and 12 of SELEX. The aptamer candidate sequences exhibiting the highest affinity for the GD derivative from round 8 also reappeared in several clones from round 12. Each of the highest affinity PAPMP-binding aptamers also bound methylphosphonic acid (MPA). In addition, the aptamer with the highest overall affinity for PAPMP carried a sequence motif (TTTAGT) thought to bind MPA based on previously published data (J. Fluoresc 18: 867-876, 2008). This sequence motif was found in several other relatively high affinity PAPMP aptamer candidates as well. In studies with the nerve agent GD, pre-incubation of a large molar excess of aptamer candidates failed to protect human butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) from inhibition. With the aid of three-dimensional molecular modeling of the GD derivative it appears that a hydrophilic cleft sandwiched between the pinacolyl group and the p-aminophenyl ring might channel nucleotide interactions to the phosphonate portion of the immobilized GD derivative. However, bona fide GD free in solution may be repulsed by the negative phosphate backbone of aptamers and rotate its phosphonate and fluorine moieties away from the aptamer to avoid being bound. Future attempts to develop aptamers to GD might benefit from immobilizing the pinacolyl group of bona fide GD to enhance exposure of the phosphonate and fluorine to the random DNA library.
Human paraoxonase (HuPON1) is a serum enzyme that exhibits a broad spectrum of hydrolytic activities, including the hydrolysis of various organophosphates, esters, and recently identified lactone substrates. Despite intensive site-directed mutagenesis and other biological studies, the structural basis for the specificity of substrate interactions of HuPON1 remains elusive. In this study, we apply homology modeling, docking, and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations to probe the binding interactions of HuPON1 with representative substrates. The results suggest that the active site of HuPON1 is characterized by two distinct binding regions: the hydrophobic binding site for arylesters/lactones, and the paraoxon binding site for phosphotriesters. The unique binding modes proposed for each type of substrate reveal a number of key residues governing substrate specificity. The polymorphic residue R/Q192 interacts with the leaving group of paraoxon, suggesting it plays an important role in the proper positioning of this substrate in the active site. MD simulations of the optimal binding complexes show that residue Y71 undergoes an "open-closed" conformational change upon ligand binding, and forms strong interactions with substrates. Further binding free energy calculations and residual decomposition give a more refined molecular view of the energetics and origin of HuPON1/substrate interactions. These studies provide a theoretical model of substrate binding and specificity associated with wild type and mutant forms of HuPON1, which can be applied in the rational design of HuPON1 variants as bioscavengers with enhanced catalytic activity.
Paraoxonase-1 (PON1) is a serum protein, the activity of which is related to susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and intoxication by organophosphorus (OP) compounds. It may also be involved in innate immunity, and it is a possible lead molecule in the development of a catalytic bioscavenger of OP pesticides and nerve agents. Human PON1 expressed in E. coli is mostly found in the insoluble fraction, which motivated the engineering of soluble variants, such as G2E6, with more than 50 mutations from huPON1. We examined the effect on the solubility, activity, and stability of three sets of mutations designed to solubilize huPON1 with fewer overall changes: deletion of the N-terminal leader, polar mutations in the putative HDL binding site, and selection of the subset of residues that became more polar in going from huPON1 to G2E6. All three sets of mutations increase the solubility of huPON1; the HDL-binding mutant has the largest effect on solubility, but it also decreases the activity and stability the most. Based on the G2E6 polar mutations, we "humanized" an engineered variant of PON1 with high activity against cyclosarin (GF) and found that it was still very active against GF with much greater similarity to the human sequence.
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