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A Single Domain Shark Antibody Targeting the Transferrin Receptor 1 Delivers a TrkB Agonist Antibody to the Brain and Provides Full Neuroprotection in a Mouse Model of Parkinson’s Disease

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Emily Clarke, Pawel Stocki, Elizabeth H. Sinclair, Aziz Gauhar, Edward J.R. Fletcher, Alicja Krawczun-Rygmaczewska, Susan Duty, Frank S. Walsh, Patrick Doherty, Julia Lynn Rutkowski

Original languageEnglish
Article number1335
Issue number7
PublishedJul 2022

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Publisher Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

King's Authors


Single domain shark antibodies that bind to the transferrin receptor 1 (TfR1) on brain endothelial cells have been used to shuttle antibodies and other cargos across the blood brain barrier (BBB) to the brain. For these studies the TXB4 brain shuttle was fused to a TrkB neurotrophin receptor agonist antibody. The TXB4-TrkB fusion retained potent agonist activity at its cognate receptor and after systemic administration showed a 12-fold increase in brain levels over the unmodified antibody. Only the TXB4-TrkB antibody fusion was detected within the brain and localized to TrkB positive cells in the cortex and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) positive dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), where it was associated with activated ERK1/2 signaling. When tested in the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) mouse model of Parkinson’s disease (PD), TXB4-TrkB, but not the unmodified antibody, completely prevented the 6-OHDA induced death of TH positive neurons in the SNc. In conclusion, the fusion of the TXB4 brain shuttle allows a TrkB agonist antibody to reach neuroprotective concentrations in the brain parenchyma following systemic administration.

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