Therapeutic anti-methamphetamine antibody fragment-nanoparticle conjugates: synthesis and in vitro characterization

Bioconjug Chem. 2012 Sep 19;23(9):1864-72. doi: 10.1021/bc300204n. Epub 2012 Aug 28.


Treatments specific to the medical problems caused by methamphetamine (METH) abuse are greatly needed. Toward this goal, we are developing new multivalent anti-METH antibody fragment-nanoparticle conjugates with customizable pharmacokinetic properties. We have designed a novel anti-METH single chain antibody fragment with an engineered terminal cysteine (scFv6H4Cys). Generation 3 (G3) polyamidoamine dendrimer nanoparticles were chosen for conjugation due to their monodisperse properties and multiple amine functional groups. ScFv6H4Cys was conjugated to G3 dendrimers via a heterobifunctional PEG cross-linker that is reactive to a free amine on one end and a thiol group on the other. PEG modified dendrimers were synthesized by reacting the PEG cross-linker with dendrimers in a stoichiometric ratio of 11:1, which were further reacted with 3-fold molar excess of anti-METH scFv6H4Cys. This reaction resulted in a heterogeneous mix of G3-PEG-scFv6H4Cys conjugates (dendribodies) with three to six scFv6H4Cys conjugated to each dendrimer. The dendribodies were separated from the unreacted PEG modified dendrimers and scFv6H4Cys using affinity chromatography. A detailed in vitro characterization of the PEG modified dendrimers and the dendribodies was performed to determine size, purity, and METH binding function. The dendribodies were found to have affinity for METH identical to that of the unconjugated scFv6H4Cys in saturation binding assays, whereas the PEG modified dendrimers had no affinity for METH. These data suggest that an anti-METH scFv can be successfully conjugated to a PEG modified dendrimer nanoparticle with no adverse effects on METH binding properties. This study is a critical step toward preclinical characterization and development of a novel nanomedicine for the treatment of METH abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / immunology*
  • Methamphetamine / immunology*
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • Methamphetamine