Biomaterials 2020 Nov 13;259:120265. Epub 2020 Aug 13.
Biotherapeutics Translational Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), 125 Gwahak-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 34141, Republic of Korea; Department of Biomolecular Science, KRIBB School of Bioscience, Korea University of Science and Technology (UST), 217 Gajeong-ro, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 34113, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:
The self-renewal properties of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) contribute to their efficacy in tissue regeneration applications yet increase the likelihood of teratoma formation, thereby limiting their clinical utility. To address this issue, we developed a tool to specifically target and neutralize undifferentiated hPSCs, thereby minimizing tumorigenicity risk without negatively affecting regenerated and somatic tissues. Specifically, we conjugated a monoclonal antibody (K6-1) previously generated in our laboratory against desmoglein 2 (Dsg2), which is highly differentially expressed in undifferentiated hPSCs versus somatic tissues, to the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin (DOX). The K6-1-DOX conjugates were selectively targeted and incorporated into Dsg2-positive hPSCs, leading to pH-dependent endosomal release and nuclear localization of DOX with subsequent cytotoxicity via an apoptotic caspase cascade. Conversely, Dsg2-negative fibroblasts showed minimal conjugate uptake or cytotoxicity, suggesting that K6-1-DOX treatment would yield few side effects owing to off-target effects. Selective removal of undifferentiated stem cells was also supported by in vivo studies using a mouse xenograft model, wherein hIgG-DOX- but not K6-1-DOX-pretreated-hPSC injection led to teratoma development. Together, these results validated the ability of the Dsg2-targeted antibody-anticancer drug conjugate to facilitate the safety of stem cell therapies.