The tumor microenvironment of numerous prevalent cancer types is abundantly infiltrated with tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Macrophage mannose receptor (MMR or CD206) expressing TAMs have been shown to be key promoters of tumor progression and major opponents of successful cancer therapy. Therefore, depleting MMR + TAMs is an interesting approach to synergize with current antitumor therapies. We studied the potential of single-domain antibodies (sdAbs) specific for MMR to target proteins to MMR + TAMs. Anti-MMR sdAbs were genetically coupled to a reporter protein, mWasabi (wasabi green, WG), generating sdAb “drug” fusion proteins (SFPs), referred to as WG-SFPs. The resulting WG-SFPs were highly efficient in targeting MMR + macrophages both in vitro and in vivo. As we showed that second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC) mimetics modulate MMR + macrophages, we further coupled the anti-MMR sdAb to an active form of SMAC, referred to as tSMAC. The resulting tSMAC-SFPs were able to bind and upregulate caspase3/7 activity in MMR + macrophages in vitro. In conclusion, we report the proof-of-concept of an elegant approach to conjugate anti-MMR sdAbs to proteins, which opens new avenues for targeted manipulation of MMR + tumor-promoting TAMs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2019


  • CD206
  • Cancer
  • Delivery vehicle
  • Macrophage mannose receptor
  • Nanobody
  • Single-domain antibody
  • Single-domain antibody fusion proteins
  • Tumor-associated macrophage


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