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Effect Of Chemical Modification Of Recombinant Human Acetylcholinesterase By Polyethylene Glycol On Its Circulatory Longevity

Ofer COHEN, Chanoch KRONMAN, Theodor CHITLARU, Arie ORDENTLICH, Baruch VELAN, Avigdor SHAFFERMAN

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Post-translational modifications were recently shown to be responsible for the short circulatory mean residence time (MRT) of recombinant human acetylcholinesterase (rHuAChE) [Kronman, Velan, Marcus, Ordentlich, Reuveny and Shafferman (1995) Biochem. J. 311, 959–967; Chitlaru, Kronman, Zeevi, Kam, Harel, Ordentlich, Velan and Shafferman (1998) Biochem. J. 336, 647–658; Chitlaru, Kronman, Velan and Shafferman (2001) Biochem. J. 354, 613–625], which is one of the major obstacles to the fulfilment of its therapeutic potential as a bioscavenger. In the present study we demonstrate that the MRT of rHuAChE can be significantly increased by the controlled attachment of polyethylene glycol (PEG) side chains to lysine residues. Attachment of as many as four PEG molecules to monomeric rHuAChE had minimal effects, if any, on either the catalytic activity (Km = 0.09mM and kcat = 3.9×105min−1) or the reactivity of the modified enzyme towards active-centre inhibitors, such as edrophonium and di-isopropyl fluorophosphate, or to peripheral-site ligands, such as propidium, BW284C51 and even the bulky snake-venom toxin fasciculin-II. The increase in MRT of the PEG-modified monomeric enzyme is linearly dependent, in the tested range, on the number of attached PEG molecules, as well as on their size. It appears that even low level PEG-conjugation can overcome the deleterious effect of under-sialylation on the pharmacokinetic performance of rHuAChE. At the highest tested ratio of attached PEG-20000/rHuAChE (4:1), an MRT of over 2100min was attained, a value unmatched by any other known form of recombinant or native serum-derived AChE reported to date.