Deficiency of interleukin (IL)-36 receptor antagonist (DITRA) syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in IL36RN. IL-36R is a cell surface receptor and a member of the IL1R family that is involved in inflammatory responses triggered in skin and other epithelial tissues. Accumulating evidence suggests that IL-36R signaling may play a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis. Therapeutic intervention of IL-36R signaling offers an innovative treatment paradigm for targeting epithelial cell-mediated inflammatory diseases such as the life-threatening psoriasis variant called generalized pustular psoriasis (GPP). We report the discovery and characterization of MAB92, a potent, high affinity anti-human IL-36 receptor antagonistic antibody that blocks human IL-36 ligand (α, β and γ)-mediated signaling. In vitro treatment with MAB92 directly inhibits human IL-36R-mediated signaling and inflammatory cytokine production in primary human keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts. MAB92 shows exquisite species specificity toward human IL-36R and does not cross react to murine IL-36R. To enable in vivo pharmacology studies, we developed a mouse cross-reactive antibody, MAB04, which exhibits overlapping binding and pharmacological activity as MAB92. Epitope mapping indicates that MAB92 and MAB04 bind primarily to domain-2 of the human and mouse IL-36R proteins, respectively. Treatment with MAB04 abrogates imiquimod and IL-36-mediated skin inflammation in the mouse, further supporting an important role for IL-36R signaling in epithelial cell-mediated inflammation.
Keywords: Generalized Pustular Psoriasis; IL-36R; IL1R family; IL1RL2; antagonist antibody.