Department of Therapeutic Discovery, Amgen Inc., 1201 Amgen Court West, Seattle, WA 98119, USA.
Crystalline bodies (CBs) can develop in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of antibody-producing cells. Although this phenotype is often reported in association with plasma cell dyscrasias and other hematological disorders, the details of CB biogenesis and CB's roles in pathophysiology remain poorly understood. Using an imaging-based screening method, we identified a secretion-competent human IgG2/λ clone that develops spindle-shaped intracellular crystals in transiently-transfected HEK293 cells upon Brefeldin A treatment. When stably overexpressed from CHO cells, the IgG2/λ clone spontaneously produced spindle-shaped CBs in the ER. Some CBs were released to the extracellular space while remaining enclosed by the membranes of secretory pathway origin. Structural modeling on the variable-region did not uncover prominent surface characteristics such as charge clusters. In contrast, alterations to the constant domain-encoded properties revealed their modulatory roles in CB-inducing propensities and CB morphology. For example, deletion of the entire Fc domain changed the morphology of CBs into thin filaments. Elimination of an N-linked glycan by a N297A mutation promoted Russell body biogenesis accompanied by marked reduction in IgG secretion. Isotype class switching from the original IgG2 to IgG1 and IgG4 changed the crystal morphology from spindle-shaped to long needle and acicular shaped, respectively. The IgG3 version, in contrast, suppressed the CB formation. Either the HC or LC alone or the Fc-domain alone did not trigger CB biogenesis. An IgG's in vivo crystal morphology and crystallization propensity can thus be modulated by the properties genetically and biochemically encoded in the HC constant region.
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