Monoclonal Antibodies Against the Staphylococcus aureus Bicomponent Leukotoxin AB Isolated Following Invasive Human Infection Reveal Diverse Binding and Modes of Action.


The 2-component leukotoxin LukAB is critical for Staphylococcus aureus targeting and killing of human neutrophils ex vivo and is produced in the setting of human infection. We report 3 LukAB-specific human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with distinct mechanisms of toxin neutralization and in vivo efficacy. Three hybridomas secreting mAbs with anti-LukAB activity (designated SA-13, -15, and -17) were generated from B cells obtained from a 12-year-old boy with S. aureus osteomyelitis. Each of the 3 mAbs neutralized LukAB-mediated neutrophil toxicity, exhibited differing levels of potency, recognized different antigenic sites on the toxin, and displayed at least 2 distinct mechanisms for cytotoxic inhibition. SA-15 bound exclusively to the dimeric form of the toxin, suggesting that human B cells recognize epitopes on the dimerized form of LukAB during natural infection. Both SA-13 and SA-17 bound the LukA monomer and the LukAB dimer. Although all 3 mAbs potently neutralized cytotoxicity, only SA-15 and SA-17 significantly inhibited toxin association with the cell surface. Treatment with a 1:1 mixture of mAbs SA-15 and SA-17 resulted in significantly lower bacterial colony counts in heart, liver, and kidneys in a murine model of S. aureus sepsis. These data describe the isolation of diverse and efficacious antitoxin mAbs.