Pharmaceutically modified subtilisins withstand acidic conditions and effectively degrade gluten in vivo
Helmerhorst, Eva J.
Oppenheim, Frank G.
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Citation (published version)Ghassan Darwish, Eva J Helmerhorst, Detlef Schuppan, Frank G Oppenheim, Guoxian Wei. 2019. "Pharmaceutically modified subtilisins withstand acidic conditions and effectively degrade gluten in vivo." Scientific Reports, Volume 9, pp. 7505 - 7515. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43837-9
Detoxification of gluten immunogenic epitopes is a promising strategy for the treatment of celiac disease. Our previous studies have shown that these epitopes can be degraded in vitro by subtilisin enzymes derived from Rothia mucilaginosa, a natural microbial colonizer of the oral cavity. The challenge is that the enzyme is not optimally active under acidic conditions as encountered in the stomach. We therefore aimed to protect and maintain subtilisin-A enzyme activity by exploring two pharmaceutical modification techniques: PEGylation and Polylactic glycolic acid (PLGA) microencapsulation. PEGylation of subtilisin-A (Sub-A) was performed by attaching methoxypolyethylene glycol (mPEG, 5 kDa). The PEGylation protected subtilisin-A from autolysis at neutral pH. The PEGylated Sub-A (Sub-A-mPEG) was further encapsulated by PLGA. The microencapsulated Sub-A-mPEG-PLGA showed significantly increased protection against acid exposure in vitro. In vivo, gluten immunogenic epitopes were decreased by 60% in the stomach of mice fed with chow containing Sub-A-mPEG-PLGA (0.2mg Sub-A/ g chow) (n=9) compared to 31.9 % in mice fed with chow containing unmodified Sub-A (n=9). These results show that the developed pharmaceutical modification can protect Sub-A from auto-digestion as well as from acid inactivation, thus rendering the enzyme more effective for applications in vivo.
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