A mathematical model was developed which relates the time and concentration dependence of protein synthesis inhibition of an immunotoxin to the properties of the targeting agent and the conjugated toxin. The role of the targeting agent and that of the toxin in determining the cytotoxicity were separated in this model by describing protein synthesis inhibition as a function of a cellular trafficking variable, which is calculated from the trafficking parameters of the targeting agent, and a protein synthesis inhibition constant, which is a property of the translocation and enzymatic rate constants of the toxin. Transferrin cellular trafficking parameters were determined experimentally for HeLa and SK-MEL-2 cells. Protein synthesis inhibition of transferrin-gelonin and transferrin-CRM107 conjugates in both cell lines was measured as a function of time and concentration. Analysis of the data showed that the model was a good representation of the experimental results, and correctly explained cell line differences in sensitivity to transferrin-toxin conjugates. The translocation rate constant for transferrin-CRM107 was approximately 3000 times greater than that for transferrin-gelonin. The noted may be useful in understanding the factors that influence immunotoxin efficacy and in designing more lethal immunotoxins.


This work was supported by National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award BCS-9057661.

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