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  • Engineered red blood cells carrying PCSK9 inhibitors persistently lower LDL and prevent obesity PLOS ONE Deshycka, R., Sudaryo, V., Huang, N., Xie, Y., Smeding, L. Y., Choi, M., Ploegh, H. L., Lodish, H. F., Pishesha, N. 2021; 16 (11): e0259353


    Low plasma levels of Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin 9 (PCSK9) are associated with decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. PCSK9 binds to the epidermal growth factor-like repeat A (EGFA) domain of LDL receptors (LDLR), very low-density lipoprotein receptors (VLDLR), apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (ApoER2), and lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) and accelerates their degradation, thus acting as a key regulator of lipid metabolism. Antibody and RNAi-based PCSK9 inhibitor treatments lower cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular incidents in patients, but their high-cost hampers market penetration. We sought to develop a safe, long-term and one-time solution to treat hyperlipidemia. We created a cDNA encoding a chimeric protein in which the extracellular N- terminus of red blood cells (RBCs) specific glycophorin A was fused to the LDLR EGFA domain and introduced this gene into mouse bone marrow hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Following transplantation into irradiated mice, the animals produced RBCs with the EGFA domain (EGFA-GPA RBCs) displayed on their surface. These animals showed significantly reduced plasma PCSK9 (66.5% decrease) and reduced LDL levels (40% decrease) for as long as 12 months post-transplantation. Furthermore, the EGFA- GPA mice remained lean for life and maintained normal body weight under a high-fat diet. Hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy can generate red blood cells expressing an EGFA-glycophorin A chimeric protein as a practical and long-term strategy for treating chronic hyperlipidemia and obesity.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0259353

    View details for Web of Science ID 000755072700047

    View details for PubMedID 34731223

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8565730

  • Genetically engineered red cells expressing single domain camelid antibodies confer long-term protection against botulinum neurotoxin NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Huang, N., Pishesha, N., Mukherjee, J., Zhang, S., Deshycka, R., Sudaryo, V., Dong, M., Shoemaker, C. B., Lodish, H. F. 2017; 8: 423


    A short half-life in the circulation limits the application of therapeutics such as single-domain antibodies (VHHs). We utilize red blood cells to prolong the circulatory half-life of VHHs. Here we present VHHs against botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A) on the surface of red blood cells by expressing chimeric proteins of VHHs with Glycophorin A or Kell. Mice whose red blood cells carry the chimeric proteins exhibit resistance to 10,000 times the lethal dose (LD50) of BoNT/A, and transfusion of these red blood cells into naive mice affords protection for up to 28 days. We further utilize an improved CD34+ culture system to engineer human red blood cells that express these chimeric proteins. Mice transfused with these red blood cells are resistant to highly lethal doses of BoNT/A. We demonstrate that engineered red blood cells expressing VHHs can provide prolonged prophylactic protection against bacterial toxins without inducing inhibitory immune responses and illustrates the potentially broad translatability of our strategy for therapeutic applications.The therapeutic use of single-chain antibodies (VHHs) is limited by their short half-life in the circulation. Here the authors engineer mouse and human red blood cells to express VHHs against botulinum neurotoxin A (BoNT/A) on their surface and show that an infusion of these cells into mice confers long lasting protection against a high dose of BoNT/A.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-017-00448-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000409394000006

    View details for PubMedID 28871080

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5583347