A Novel Platform for the Potentiation of Therapeutic Antibodies Based on Antigen-Dependent Formation of IgG Hexamers at the Cell Surface

PLoS Biol. 2016 Jan 6;14(1):e1002344. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002344. eCollection 2016 Jan.


IgG antibodies can organize into ordered hexamers on cell surfaces after binding their antigen. These hexamers bind the first component of complement C1 inducing complement-dependent target cell killing. Here, we translated this natural concept into a novel technology platform (HexaBody technology) for therapeutic antibody potentiation. We identified mutations that enhanced hexamer formation and complement activation by IgG1 antibodies against a range of targets on cells from hematological and solid tumor indications. IgG1 backbones with preferred mutations E345K or E430G conveyed a strong ability to induce conditional complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) of cell lines and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patient tumor cells, while retaining regular pharmacokinetics and biopharmaceutical developability. Both mutations potently enhanced CDC- and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) of a type II CD20 antibody that was ineffective in complement activation, while retaining its ability to induce apoptosis. The identified IgG1 Fc backbones provide a novel platform for the generation of therapeutics with enhanced effector functions that only become activated upon binding to target cell-expressed antigen.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Complement Activation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism*
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Polymerization


  • Immunoglobulin G

Grant support

GW and AJRH acknowledge additional support through the project Proteins At Work, a program of the Netherlands Proteomics Centre financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the National Roadmap Large-scale Research Facilities of the Netherlands (project number 184.032.201). This funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.