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Engineered Recognition of Tetravalent Zirconium and Thorium by Chelator-Protein Systems: Toward Flexible Radiotherapy and Imaging Platforms.

  • Author(s): Captain, Ilya
  • Deblonde, Gauthier J-P
  • Rupert, Peter B
  • An, Dahlia D
  • Illy, Marie-Claire
  • Rostan, Emeline
  • Ralston, Corie Y
  • Strong, Roland K
  • Abergel, Rebecca J
  • et al.

Targeted α therapy holds tremendous potential as a cancer treatment: it offers the possibility of delivering a highly cytotoxic dose to targeted cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. The metallic α-generating radioisotopes 225Ac and 227Th are promising radionuclides for therapeutic use, provided adequate chelation and targeting. Here we demonstrate a new chelating platform composed of a multidentate high-affinity oxygen-donating ligand 3,4,3-LI(CAM) bound to the mammalian protein siderocalin. Respective stability constants log β110 = 29.65 ± 0.65, 57.26 ± 0.20, and 47.71 ± 0.08, determined for the EuIII (a lanthanide surrogate for AcIII), ZrIV, and ThIV complexes of 3,4,3-LI(CAM) through spectrophotometric titrations, reveal this ligand to be one of the most powerful chelators for both trivalent and tetravalent metal ions at physiological pH. The resulting metal-ligand complexes are also recognized with extremely high affinity by the siderophore-binding protein siderocalin, with dissociation constants below 40 nM and tight electrostatic interactions, as evidenced by X-ray structures of the protein:ligand:metal adducts with ZrIV and ThIV. Finally, differences in biodistribution profiles between free and siderocalin-bound 238PuIV-3,4,3-LI(CAM) complexes confirm in vivo stability of the protein construct. The siderocalin:3,4,3-LI(CAM) assembly can therefore serve as a "lock" to consolidate binding to the therapeutic 225Ac and 227Th isotopes or to the positron emission tomography emitter 89Zr, independent of metal valence state.

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