Key Points

  • N-glycan insertion within an extended epitope in the spacer domain prevents binding of pathogenic autoantibodies in iTTP

  • Autoantibody-resistant NGLY3-ADAMTS13 (K608N) retains full proteolytic activity against VWF

Immune-mediated thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (iTTP) is an autoimmune disorder caused by the development of autoantibodies targeting different domains of ADAMTS13. Profiling studies have shown that residues R568, F592, R660, Y661 and Y665 within exosite-3 of the spacer domain provide an immunodominant region of ADAMTS13 for pathogenic autoantibodies that develop in patients with iTTP. Modification of these 5 core residues with the goal of reducing auto-antibody binding revealed a significant trade-off between autoantibody resistance and proteolytic activity. Here, we employed structural bioinformatics to identify a larger epitope landscape on the ADAMTS13 spacer domain. Models of spacer-antibody complexes predicted that residues R568, L591, F592, K608, M609, R636, L637, R639, R660, Y661, Y665 and L668 contribute to an expanded epitope within the spacer domain. Based on bioinformatics-guided predictions we designed a panel of N-glycan insertions in this expanded epitope to reduce the binding of spacer domain autoantibodies. One N-glycan variant (NGLY3-ADAMTS13, containing a K608N substitution) showed strongly reduced reactivity with TTP patient sera (28%) as compared to WT-ADAMTS13 (100%). Insertion of an N-glycan at amino acid position 608 did not interfere with processing of VWF positioning the resulting NGLY3-ADAMTS13 variant as a potential novel therapeutic option for treatment of iTTP.

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