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Claudins regulate paracellular permeability in different tissues. The claudin-binding domain of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (cCPE) is a known modulator of a claudin subset. However, it does not efficiently bind to claudin-1 (Cldn1). Cldn1 is a pharmacological target since it is (i) an essential co-receptor for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections and (ii) a key element of the epidermal barrier limiting drug delivery. In this study, we investigated the potential of a Cldn1-binding cCPE mutant (i) to inhibit HCV entry into hepatocytes and (ii) to open the epidermal barrier. Inhibition of HCV infection by blocking of Cldn1 with cCPE variants was analyzed in the Huh7.5 hepatoma cell line. A model of reconstructed human epidermis was used to investigate modulation of the epidermal barrier by cCPE variants. In contrast to cCPEwt, the Cldn1-binding cCPE-S305P/S307R/S313H inhibited infection of Huh7.5 cells with HCV in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, TJ modulation by cCPE variant-mediated targeting of Cldn1 and Cldn4 opened the epidermal barrier in reconstructed human epidermis. cCPE variants are potent claudin modulators. They can be applied for mechanistic in vitro studies and might also be used as biologics for therapeutic claudin targeting including HCV treatment (host-targeting antivirals) and improvement of drug delivery.

Original publication

DOI

10.3390/ijms20194774

Type

Journal article

Journal

International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Publisher

MDPI

Publication Date

26/09/2019

Volume

20