Journal Article
. 2018 Apr; 6(1):28.
doi: 10.1186/s40425-018-0339-5.

An innovative immunotherapeutic strategy for ovarian cancer: CLEC10A and glycomimetic peptides

Laura L Eggink 1 Katherine F Roby 2 Robert Cote 1 J Kenneth Hoober 3 
  • PMID: 29665849
  •     105 References
  •     15 citations


Background: Receptors specific for the sugar N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) include the human type II, C-type lectin receptor macrophage galactose-type lectin/C-type lectin receptor family member 10A (MGL/CLEC10A/CD301) that is expressed prominently by human peripheral immature dendritic cells, dendritic cells in the skin, alternatively-activated (M2a) macrophages, and to lesser extents by several other types of tissues. CLEC10A is an endocytic receptor on antigen-presenting cells and has been proposed to play an important role in maturation of dendritic cells and initiation of an immune response. In this study, we asked whether a peptide that binds in the GalNAc-binding site of CLEC10A would serve as an effective tool to activate an immune response against ovarian cancer.

Methods: A 12-mer sequence emerged from a screen of a phage display library with a GalNAc-specific lectin. The peptide, designated svL4, and a shorter peptide consisting of the C-terminal 6 amino acids, designated sv6D, were synthesized as tetravalent structures based on a tri-lysine core. In silico and in vitro binding assays were developed to evaluate binding of the peptides to GalNAc-specific receptors. Endotoxin-negative peptide solutions were administered by subcutaneous injection and biological activity of the peptides was determined by secretion of cytokines and the response of peritoneal immune cells in mice. Anti-cancer activity was studied in a murine model of ovarian cancer.

Results: The peptides bound to recombinant human CLEC10A with high avidity, with half-maximal binding in the low nanomolar range. Binding to the receptor was Ca2+-dependent. Subcutaneous injection of low doses of peptides into mice on alternate days resulted in several-fold expansion of populations of mature immune cells within the peritoneal cavity. Peptide sv6D effectively suppressed development of ascites in a murine ovarian cancer model as a monotherapy and in combination with the chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel or the immunotherapeutic antibody against the receptor PD-1. Toxicity, including antigenicity and release of cytotoxic levels of cytokines, was not observed.

Conclusion: sv6D is a functional ligand for CLEC10A and induces maturation of immune cells in the peritoneal cavity. The peptide caused a highly significant extension of survival of mice with implanted ovarian cancer cells with a favorable toxicity and non-antigenic profile.

Keywords: ASGPR-1; CLEC10A; Dendritic cells; Glycomimetic peptides; N-Acetylgalactosamine; Ovarian cancer; Peritoneal cells.

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