Blocking Tick-Borne Infection with Nanobodies

Fig. 8. D7, but not D3, abrogates E. chaffeensis-induced increase in MnSOD and reduction in ROS and inhibits infection. (A) HEK293 cells were transfected with HA-tagged Nbs and infected with E. chaffeensis (Ech) at 1 dpt. Native E. chaffeensis Etf-1, E. chaffeensis outer membrane proteins P28/OMP-1F, Nbs, MnSOD, and human actin were detected at 2 dpi by Western blotting using their respective antibodies. (B, D, and E) Quantification of relative densities of MnSOD (B), P28 (D), and Etf-1 (E) normalized against actin. (C) ROS production at 2 dpi was analyzed by the fluorescent indicator H2DCFDA. Null, buffer control without H2DCFDA. (B−E) Data are presented as the mean ± SD from three independent experiments with triplicates per sample. *P < 0.05, by one-way ANOVA.

Ohio State University researchers have just published an article on their creation of nanobodies which target the protein that causes E. chaffeensis bacteria to be extremely infectious. Nanobodies are small molecules that can be designed to mimic the function  and structure of antibodies and may be the solution to inhibit tick-borne bacterial infections that remain inaccessible by most current antibiotics due to the fact that they reside and replicate inside human immune cells. 

Researchers conducted a number of experiments in both mice and cell cultures which identified one specific nanobody that could suppress E. chaffeensis infection by blocking three ways the protein enables the bacteria to commandeer immune cells. It is thought that these nanobodies can be developed as a new or complementary therapy for human monocytic ehrlichiosis as well as other tick-borne diseases that are caused by intracellular infections, infections that can be fatal if left untreated or undertreated. 

Read Science Daily article here.

Read full text Ohio State research article here.

Read more LDA posts on Ehrlichiosis here.