Structure-guided optimization of the interleukin-6 trans-signaling antagonist sgp130

Stephanie Tenhumberg, Georg H Waetzig, Athena Chalaris, Björn Rabe, Dirk Seegert, Jürgen Scheller, Stefan Rose-John, Joachim Grötzinger
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2008 October 3, 283 (40): 27200-7
Binding of interleukin-6 (IL-6) to its specific receptor IL-6R is a prerequisite for the activation of the signal-transducing receptor glycoprotein 130 (gp130). A soluble form of the IL-6R (sIL-6R) in complex with IL-6 can activate cells lacking membrane-bound IL-6R (trans-signaling). IL-6-trans-signaling is counterbalanced by a naturally occurring, soluble form of gp130 (sgp130), whereby signaling via the membrane-bound IL-6R is not affected. Many inflammatory and neoplastic disorders are driven by IL-6 trans-signaling. By analysis of the three-dimensional structure of gp130 in complex with IL-6 and sIL-6R, we identified amino acid side chains in gp130 as candidates for the generation of sgp130 muteins with increased binding affinity to IL-6/sIL-6R. In addition, with information from modeling and NMR analysis of the membrane proximal domain of gp130, we generated a more stable variant of sgp130Fc. Proteins were tested for binding to the IL-6/sIL-6R-complex, for inhibition of IL-6/sIL-6R-induced cell proliferation and of acute phase gene expression. Several mutations showed an additive effect in improving the binding affinity of human sgp130 toward human IL-6/sIL-6R. Finally, we demonstrate the species specificity of these mutations in the optimal triple mutein (T102Y/Q113F/N114L) both in vitro and in a mouse model of acute inflammation.

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