Inhibition of Francisella tularensis phagocytosis using a novel anti-LPS scFv antibody fragment

Adva Mechaly, Uri Elia, Ron Alcalay, Hila Cohen, Eyal Epstein, Ofer Cohen, Ohad Mazor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Francisella tularensis (Ft), the causative agent of lethal tularemia, is classified as a category A biological warfare threat agent. While Ft infection is treatable by antibiotics, many failed antibiotic treatments were reported, highlighting the need for effective new treatments. It has been demonstrated that binding of antibody-coated bacteria to the Fc receptor located on phagocytic cells is a key process needed for efficient protection against Ft. Yet, Ft utilizes the same receptor to enter the phagocytic cells in order to escape the immune system. To address the question whether an anti-Ft LPS antibody lacking the ability to bind the Fc receptor may inhibit the entry of Ft into host cells, a soluble scFv (TL1-scFv) was constructed from an anti Ft-LPS antibody (TL1) that was isolated from an immune single-chain (scFv) phage-display library. Bacterial uptake was assessed upon infection of macrophages with Ft live attenuated strain (LVS) in the presence of either TL1 or TL1-scFv. While incubation of LVS in the presence of TL1 greatly enhanced bacterial uptake, LVS uptake was significantly inhibited in the presence of TL1-scFv. These results prompt further experiments probing the therapeutic efficacy of TL1-scFv, alone or in combination with antibiotic treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11418
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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