• blood–brain barrier;
  • drug targeting;
  • avidin;
  • transferrin receptor;
  • siRNA


Protein therapeutics may be delivered across the blood–brain barrier (BBB) by genetic fusion to a BBB molecular Trojan horse. The latter is an endogenous peptide or a peptidomimetic monoclonal antibody (MAb) against a BBB receptor, such as the insulin receptor or the transferrin receptor (TfR). Fusion proteins have been engineered with the MAb against the human insulin receptor (HIR). However, the HIRMAb is not active against the rodent insulin receptor, and cannot be used for drug delivery across the mouse BBB. The rat 8D3 MAb against the mouse TfR is active as a drug delivery system in the mouse, and the present studies describe the cloning and sequencing of the variable region of the heavy chain (VH) and light chain (VL) of the rat 8D3 TfRMAb. The VH and VL were fused to the constant region of mouse IgG1 heavy chain and mouse kappa light chain, respectively, to produce a new chimeric TfRMAb. The chimeric TfRMAb was expressed in COS cells following dual transfection with the heavy and light chain expression plasmids, and was purified by protein G affinity chromatography. The affinity of the chimeric TfRMAb for the murine TfR was equal to the 8D3 MAb using a radio-receptor assay and mouse fibroblasts. The chimeric TfRMAb was radio-labeled and injected into mice for a pharmacokinetics study of the clearance of the chimeric TfRMAb. The chimeric TfRMAb was rapidly taken up by mouse brain in vivo at a level comparable to the rat 8D3 MAb. In summary, these studies describe the genetic engineering, expression, and validation of a chimeric TfRMAb with high activity for the mouse TfR, which can be used in future engineering of therapeutic fusion proteins for BBB drug delivery in the mouse. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2009;102: 1251–1258. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.