Data_Sheet_1_Inhibition of Membrane-Bound BAFF by the Anti-BAFF Antibody Belimumab.pdf (117.75 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_Inhibition of Membrane-Bound BAFF by the Anti-BAFF Antibody Belimumab.pdf

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posted on 20.11.2018 by Christine Kowalczyk-Quintas, Dehlia Chevalley, Laure Willen, Camilla Jandus, Michele Vigolo, Pascal Schneider

B cell activating factor of the TNF family (BAFF, also known as BLyS), a cytokine that regulates homeostasis of peripheral B cells, is elevated in the circulation of patients with autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). BAFF is synthetized as a membrane-bound protein that can be processed to a soluble form after cleavage at a furin consensus sequence, a site that in principle can be recognized by any of the several proteases of the pro-protein convertase family. Belimumab is a human antibody approved for the treatment of SLE, often cited as specific for the soluble form of BAFF. Here we show in different experimental systems, including in a monocytic cell line (U937) that naturally expresses BAFF, that belimumab binds to membrane-bound BAFF with similar EC50 as the positive control atacicept, which is a decoy receptor for both BAFF and the related cytokine APRIL (a proliferation inducing ligand). In U937 cells, binding of both reagents was only detectable in furin-deficient U937 cells, showing that furin is the main BAFF processing protease in these cells. In CHO cells expressing membrane-bound BAFF lacking the stalk region, belimumab inhibited the activity of membrane-bound BAFF less efficiently than atacicept, while in furin-deficient U937 cells, belimumab inhibited membrane-bound BAFF and residual soluble BAFF as efficiently as atacicept. These reagents did not activate complement or antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity upon binding to membrane-bound BAFF in vitro. In conclusion, our data show that belimumab can inhibit membrane-bound BAFF, and that BAFF in U937 cells is processed by furin.

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