Divalent nanobodies to platelet CLEC-2 can serve as agonists or antagonists

Joanne C. Clark*, Eleyna M. Martin, Luis A. Morán, Ying Di, Xueqing Wang, Malou Zuidscherwoude, Helena C. Brown, Deirdre M. Kavanagh, Johan Hummert, Johannes A. Eble, Bernhard Nieswandt, David Stegner, Alice Y. Pollitt, Dirk-peter Herten, Michael G. Tomlinson, Angel García, Steve P. Watson*

*Corresponding author for this work

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CLEC-2 is a target for a new class of antiplatelet agent. Clustering of CLEC-2 leads to phosphorylation of a cytosolic YxxL and binding of the tandem SH2 domains in Syk, crosslinking two receptors. We have raised 48 nanobodies to CLEC-2 and crosslinked the most potent of these to generate divalent and tetravalent nanobody ligands. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) was used to show that the multivalent nanobodies cluster CLEC-2 in the membrane and that clustering is reduced by inhibition of Syk. Strikingly, the tetravalent nanobody stimulated aggregation of human platelets, whereas the divalent nanobody was an antagonist. In contrast, in human CLEC-2 knock-in mouse platelets, the divalent nanobody stimulated aggregation. Mouse platelets express a higher level of CLEC-2 than human platelets. In line with this, the divalent nanobody was an agonist in high-expressing transfected DT40 cells and an antagonist in low-expressing cells. FCS, stepwise photobleaching and non-detergent membrane extraction show that CLEC-2 is a mixture of monomers and dimers, with the degree of dimerisation increasing with expression thereby favouring crosslinking of CLEC-2 dimers. These results identify ligand valency, receptor expression/dimerisation and Syk as variables that govern activation of CLEC-2 and suggest that divalent ligands should be considered as partial agonists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number376
Number of pages17
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Early online date7 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2023


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