Epitope Mapping of Tetanus Toxin by Monoclonal Antibodies: Implication for Immunotherapy and Vaccine Design

  • Somayeh Ghotloo
  • Forough Golsaz-Shirazi
  • Mohammad Mehdi Amiri
  • Mahmood Jeddi-Tehrani
  • Fazel ShokriEmail author
Review Article


Tetanus as a life-threatening disease is characterized by muscle spasm. The disease is caused by the neurotoxin of Clostridium tetani. Active form of tetanus neurotoxin is composed of the light chain (fragment A) and the heavy chain. Fragment A is a zinc metalloprotease, which cleaves the neuronal soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive attachment receptor (SNARE) protein, leading to the blockade of inhibitory neurotransmitter release and subsequent generalized muscular spasm. Two functional domains of the heavy chain are fragment C, which is required for neuronal cell binding of the toxin and subsequent endocytosis into the vesicles, and fragment B, which is important for fragment A translocation across the vesicular membrane into the neuronal cytosol. Currently, polyclonal immunoglobulins against tetanus neurotoxin obtained from human plasma of hyper-immunized donors are utilized for passive immunotherapy of tetanus; however, these preparations have many disadvantages including high lot-to-lot heterogeneity, possibility of transmitting microbial agents, and the adverse reactions to the other proteins in the plasma. Neutralizing anti-tetanus neurotoxin monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) lack these drawbacks and could be considered as a suitable alternative for passive immunotherapy of tetanus. In this review, we provide an overview of the literature discussing epitope mapping of the published neutralizing MAbs against tetanus toxin.


Epitope mapping Tetanus toxin Monoclonal antibody Immunotherapy Vaccine design 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Immunology, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Laboratory Medicine, School of Allied Medical SciencesKashan University of Medical SciencesKashanIran
  3. 3.Monoclonal Antibody Research CenterAvicenna Research Institute, ACECRTehranIran

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