Cell surface sialosides constitute a central axis of immune modulation that is exploited by tumors to evade both innate and adaptive immune destruction. Therapeutic strategies that target tumor-associated sialosides may therefore potentiate antitumor immunity. Here, we report the development of antibody-sialidase conjugates that enhance tumor cell susceptibility to antibodydependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) by selective desialylation of the tumor cell glycocalyx. We chemically fused a recombinant sialidase to the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-specific antibody trastuzumab through a C-terminal aldehyde tag. The antibody-sialidase conjugate desialylated tumor cells in a HER2-dependent manner, reduced binding by natural killer (NK) cell inhibitory sialic acid-binding Ig-like lectin (Siglec) receptors, and enhanced binding to the NK-activating receptor natural killer group 2D (NKG2D). Sialidase conjugation to trastuzumab enhanced ADCC against tumor cells expressing moderate levels of HER2, suggesting a therapeutic strategy for cancer patients with lower HER2 levels or inherent trastuzumab resistance. Precision glycocalyx editing with antibody-enzyme conjugates is therefore a promising avenue for cancer immune therapy.
Xiao, H., Woods, E. C., Vukojicic, P., & Bertozzi, C. R. (2016). Precision glycocalyx editing as a strategy for cancer immunotherapy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(37), 10304–10309. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1608069113