Podoplanin is a key molecule for enhancing tumor-induced platelet aggregation. Podoplanin interacts with CLEC-2 on platelets via PLatelet Aggregation-inducing domains (PLAGs). Among our generated antibodies, those targeting the fourth PLAG domain (PLAG4) strongly suppress podoplanin-CLEC-2 binding and podoplanin-expressing tumor growth and metastasis. We previously performed a single-dose toxicity study of PLAG4-targeting anti-podoplanin-neutralizing antibodies and found no acute toxicity in cynomolgus monkeys. To confirm the therapeutic efficacy and toxicity of podoplanin-targeting antibodies, a syngeneic mouse model that enables repeated dose toxicity tests is needed. Replacement of mouse PLAG1-PLAG4 domains with human homologous domains drastically decreased the platelet-aggregating activity. Therefore, we searched the critical domain of the platelet-aggregating activity in mouse podoplanin and found that the mouse PLAG4 domain played a critical role in platelet aggregation, similar to the human PLAG4 domain. Human/mouse chimeric podoplanin, in which a limited region containing mouse PLAG4 was replaced with human homologous region, exhibited a similar platelet-aggregating activity to wild-type mouse podoplanin. Thus, we generated knock-in mice with human/mouse chimeric podoplanin expression (PdpnKI/KI mice). Our previously established PLAG4-targeting antibodies could suppress human/mouse chimeric podoplanin-mediated platelet aggregation and tumor growth in PdpnKI/KI mice. Repeated treatment of PdpnKI/KI mice with antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity activity-possessing PG4D2 antibody did not result in toxicity or changes in hematological and biochemical parameters. Our results suggest that anti-podoplanin-neutralizing antibodies could be used safely as novel anti-tumor agents. Our generated PdpnKI/KI mice are useful for investigating the efficacy and toxicity of human podoplanin-targeting drugs.
Keywords: CLEC-2; knock-in mice; platelet aggregation; podoplanin; toxicity.
© 2021 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.