Facile Affinity Maturation of Antibody Variable Domains Using Natural Diversity Mutagenesis.
ABSTRACT: The identification of mutations that enhance antibody affinity while maintaining high antibody specificity and stability is a time-consuming and laborious process. Here, we report an efficient methodology for systematically and rapidly enhancing the affinity of antibody variable domains while maximizing specificity and stability using novel synthetic antibody libraries. Our approach first uses computational and experimental alanine scanning mutagenesis to identify sites in the complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) that are permissive to mutagenesis while maintaining antigen binding. Next, we mutagenize the most permissive CDR positions using degenerate codons to encode wild-type residues and a small number of the most frequently occurring residues at each CDR position based on natural antibody diversity. This mutagenesis approach results in antibody libraries with variants that have a wide range of numbers of CDR mutations, including antibody domains with single mutations and others with tens of mutations. Finally, we sort the modest size libraries (~10 million variants) displayed on the surface of yeast to identify CDR mutations with the greatest increases in affinity. Importantly, we find that single-domain (VHH) antibodies specific for the ?-synuclein protein (whose aggregation is associated with Parkinson's disease) with the greatest gains in affinity (>5-fold) have several (four to six) CDR mutations. This finding highlights the importance of sampling combinations of CDR mutations during the first step of affinity maturation to maximize the efficiency of the process. Interestingly, we find that some natural diversity mutations simultaneously enhance all three key antibody properties (affinity, specificity, and stability) while other mutations enhance some of these properties (e.g., increased specificity) and display trade-offs in others (e.g., reduced affinity and/or stability). Computational modeling reveals that improvements in affinity are generally not due to direct interactions involving CDR mutations but rather due to indirect effects that enhance existing interactions and/or promote new interactions between the antigen and wild-type CDR residues. We expect that natural diversity mutagenesis will be useful for efficient affinity maturation of a wide range of antibody fragments and full-length antibodies.
Project description:Antibodies commonly accumulate charged mutations in their complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) during affinity maturation to enhance electrostatic interactions. However, charged mutations can mediate non-specific interactions, and it is unclear to what extent CDRs can accumulate charged residues to increase antibody affinity without compromising specificity. This is especially concerning for positively charged CDR mutations that are linked to antibody polyspecificity. To better understand antibody affinity/specificity trade-offs, we have selected single-chain antibody fragments specific for the negatively charged and hydrophobic Alzheimer's amyloid β peptide using weak and stringent selections for antibody specificity. Antibody variants isolated using weak selections for specificity were enriched in arginine CDR mutations and displayed low specificity. Alanine-scanning mutagenesis revealed that the affinities of these antibodies were strongly dependent on their arginine mutations. Antibody variants isolated using stringent selections for specificity were also enriched in arginine CDR mutations, but these antibodies possessed significant improvements in specificity. Importantly, the affinities of the most specific antibodies were much less dependent on their arginine mutations, suggesting that over-reliance on arginine for affinity leads to reduced specificity. Structural modeling and molecular simulations reveal unique hydrophobic environments near the arginine CDR mutations. The more specific antibodies contained arginine mutations in the most hydrophobic portions of the CDRs, whereas the less specific antibodies contained arginine mutations in more hydrophilic regions. These findings demonstrate that arginine mutations in antibody CDRs display context-dependent impacts on specificity and that affinity/specificity trade-offs are governed by the relative contribution of arginine CDR residues to the overall antibody affinity.
Project description:We developed a method for deep mutational scanning of antibody complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) that can determine in parallel the effect of every possible single amino acid CDR substitution on antigen binding. The method uses libraries of full length IgGs containing more than 1000 CDR point mutations displayed on mammalian cells, sorted by flow cytometry into subpopulations based on antigen affinity and analyzed by massively parallel pyrosequencing. Higher, lower and neutral affinity mutations are identified by their enrichment or depletion in the FACS subpopulations. We applied this method to a humanized version of the anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody cetuximab, generated a near comprehensive data set for 1060 point mutations that recapitulates previously determined structural and mutational data for these CDRs and identified 67 point mutations that increase affinity. The large-scale, comprehensive sequence-function data sets generated by this method should have broad utility for engineering properties such as antibody affinity and specificity and may advance theoretical understanding of antibody-antigen recognition.
Project description:Mutagenesis libraries are essential for combinatorial protein engineering. Despite improvements in gene synthesis and directed mutagenesis, current methodologies still have limitations regarding the synthesis of complete antibody single-chain variable fragment (scFv) genes and simultaneous diversification of all six CDRs. Here, we describe the generation of mutagenesis libraries for antibody affinity maturation using a cell-free solid-phase technique for annealing of single-strand mutagenic oligonucleotides. The procedure consists of PCR-based incorporation of uracil into a wild-type template, bead-based capture, elution of single-strand DNA, and in vitro uracil excision enzyme based degradation of the template DNA. Our approach enabled rapid (8 hours) mutagenesis and automated cloning of 50 position-specific alanine mutants for mapping of a scFv antibody paratope. We further exemplify our method by generating affinity maturation libraries with diversity introduced in critical, nonessential, or all CDR positions randomly. Assessment with Illumina deep sequencing showed less than 1% wild-type in two libraries and the ability to diversify all CDR positions simultaneously. Selections of the libraries with bacterial display and deep sequencing evaluation of the selection output showed that diversity introduced in non-essential positions allowed for a more effective enrichment of improved binders compared to the other two diversification strategies.
Project description:Detailed analysis of factors governing high affinity antibody-antigen interactions yields important insight into molecular recognition and facilitates the design of functional antibody libraries. Here we describe comprehensive mutagenesis of the light chain complementarity determining regions (CDRs) of HIV-1 antibody D5 (which binds its target, "5-Helix", with a reported K(D) of 50 pM). Combinatorial scanning mutagenesis libraries were prepared in which CDR residues on the D5 light chain were varied among WT side chain identity or alanine. Selection of these libraries against 5-Helix and then sequence analysis of the resulting population were used to quantify energetic consequences of mutation from wild-type to alanine (DeltaDeltaG(Ala-WT)) at each position. This analysis revealed several hotspot residues (DeltaDeltaG(Ala-WT) >or= 1 kcal/mol) that formed combining site features critical to the affinity of the interaction. Tolerance of D5 light chain residues to alternative mutations was explored with a second library. We found that light chain residues located at the center and at the periphery of the D5 combining site contribute to shape complementarity and electrostatic characteristics. Thus, the affinity of D5 for 5-Helix arises from extended interactions involving both the heavy and light chains of D5. These results provide significant insight for future antibody engineering efforts.
Project description:Antibodies provide immune protection by recognizing antigens of diverse chemical properties, but elucidating the amino acid sequence-function relationships underlying the specificity and affinity of antibody-antigen interactions remains challenging. We designed and constructed phage-displayed synthetic antibody libraries with enriched protein antigen-recognition propensities calculated with machine learning predictors, which indicated that the designed single-chain variable fragment variants were encoded with enhanced distributions of complementarity-determining region (CDR) hot spot residues with high protein antigen recognition propensities in comparison with those in the human antibody germline sequences. Antibodies derived directly from the synthetic antibody libraries, without affinity maturation cycles comparable to those in in vivo immune systems, bound to the corresponding protein antigen through diverse conformational or linear epitopes with specificity and affinity comparable to those of the affinity-matured antibodies from in vivo immune systems. The results indicated that more densely populated CDR hot spot residues were sustainable by the antibody structural frameworks and could be accompanied by enhanced functionalities in recognizing protein antigens. Our study results suggest that synthetic antibody libraries, which are not limited by the sequences found in antibodies in nature, could be designed with the guidance of the computational machine learning algorithms that are programmed to predict interaction propensities to molecules of diverse chemical properties, leading to antibodies with optimal characteristics pertinent to their medical applications.
Project description:Most affinity-maturation campaigns for antibodies and T-cell receptors (TCRs) operate on the residues at the binding site, located within the loops known as complementarity-determining regions (CDRs). Accordingly, mutations in contact residues, or so-called "second shell" residues, that increase affinity are typically identified by directed evolution involving combinatorial libraries. To determine the impact of residues located at a distance from the binding site, here we used single-codon libraries of both CDR and non-CDR residues to generate a deep mutational scan of a human TCR against the cancer antigen MART-1·HLA-A2. Non-CDR residues included those at the interface of the TCR variable domains (Vα and Vβ) and surface-exposed framework residues. Mutational analyses showed that both Vα/Vβ interface and CDR residues were important in maintaining binding to MART-1·HLA-A2, probably due to either structural requirements for proper Vα/Vβ association or direct contact with the ligand. More surprisingly, many Vα/Vβ interface substitutions yielded improved binding to MART-1·HLA-A2. To further explore this finding, we constructed interface libraries and selected them for improved stability or affinity. Among the variants identified, one conservative substitution (F45βY) was most prevalent. Further analysis of F45βY showed that it enhanced thermostability and increased affinity by 60-fold. Thus, introducing a single hydroxyl group at the Vα/Vβ interface, at a significant distance from the TCR·peptide·MHC-binding site, remarkably affected ligand binding. The variant retained a high degree of specificity for MART-1·HLA-A2, indicating that our approach provides a general strategy for engineering improvements in either soluble or cell-based TCRs for therapeutic purposes.
Project description:Today a number of synthetic antibody libraries of different formats have been created and used for the selection of a large number of recombinant antibodies. One of the determining factors for successful isolation of recombinant antibodies from libraries lies in the quality of the libraries i.e. the number of correctly folded, functional antibodies contained in the library. Here, we describe the construction of a novel, high quality, synthetic single domain antibody library dubbed Predator. The library is based on the HEL4 domain antibody with the addition of recently reported mutations concerning the amino acid composition at positions critical for the folding characteristics and aggregation propensities of domain antibodies. As a unique feature, the CDR3 of the library was designed to mimic the natural human immune response by designating amino acids known to be prevalent in functional antibodies to the diversity in CDR3. CDR randomizations were performed using trinucleotide synthesis to avoid the presence of stop codons. Furthermore a novel cycle free elongation method was used for the conversion of the synthesized single stranded DNA containing the randomized CDRs into double stranded DNA of the library. In addition a modular approach has been adopted for the scaffold in which each CDR region is flanked by unique restrictions sites, allowing easy affinity maturation of selected clones by CDR shuffling. To validate the quality of the library, one round phage display selections were performed on purified antigens and highly complex antigen mixtures such as cultured eukaryotic cells resulting in several specific binders. The further characterization of some of the selected clones, however, indicates a reduction in thermodynamic stability caused by the inclusion the additional mutations to the HEL4 scaffold.
Project description:While myriad molecular formats for bispecific antibodies have been examined to date, the simplest structures are often based on the scFv. Issues with stability and manufacturability in scFv-based bispecific molecules, however, have been a significant hindrance to their development, particularly for high-concentration, stable formulations that allow subcutaneous delivery. Our aim was to generate a tetravalent bispecific molecule targeting two inflammatory mediators for synergistic immune modulation. We focused on an scFv-Fc-scFv format, with a flexible (A4T)3 linker coupling an additional scFv to the C-terminus of an scFv-Fc. While one of the lead scFvs isolated directly from a naïve library was well-behaved and sufficiently potent, the parental anti-CXCL13 scFv 3B4 required optimization for affinity, stability, and cynomolgus ortholog cross-reactivity. To achieve this, we eschewed framework-based stabilizing mutations in favor of complementarity-determining region (CDR) mutagenesis and re-selection for simultaneous improvements in both affinity and thermal stability. Phage-displayed 3B4 CDR-mutant libraries were used in an aggressive "hammer-hug" selection strategy that incorporated thermal challenge, functional, and biophysical screening. This approach identified leads with improved stability and>18-fold, and 4,100-fold higher affinity for both human and cynomolgus CXCL13, respectively. Improvements were exclusively mediated through only 4 mutations in VL-CDR3. Lead scFvs were reformatted into scFv-Fc-scFvs and their biophysical properties ranked. Our final candidate could be formulated in a standard biopharmaceutical platform buffer at 100 mg/ml with<2% high molecular weight species present after 7 weeks at 4 °C and viscosity<15 cP. This workflow has facilitated the identification of a truly manufacturable scFv-based bispecific therapeutic suitable for subcutaneous administration.
Project description:A synthetic phage-displayed antibody repertoire was constructed with equivalent chemical diversity in the third complementarity-determining regions of the heavy (CDR-H3) and light (CDR-L3) chains, which contrasts with natural antibodies in which CDR-H3 is much more diverse than CDR-L3 due to the genetic mechanisms that generate antibody encoding genes. Surprisingly, the synthetic repertoire yielded numerous functional antibodies that contained mutated CDR-L3 sequences but a fixed CDR-H3 sequence. Alanine-scanning analysis of antibodies that recognized 10 different antigens but contained a common CDR-H3 loop showed that, in most cases, the fixed CDR-H3 sequence was able to contribute favorably to antigen recognition, but in some cases, the loop was functionally inert. Structural analysis of one such antibody in complex with antigen showed that the inert CDR-H3 loop was nonetheless highly buried at the antibody-antigen interface. Taken together, these results show that CDR-H3 diversity is not necessarily required for the generation of antibodies that recognize diverse protein antigens with high affinity and specificity, and if given the chance, CDR-L3 readily assumes the dominant role for antigen recognition. These results contrast with the commonly accepted view of antigen recognition derived from the analysis of natural antibodies, in which CDR-H3 is presumed to be dominant and CDR-L3 is presumed to play an auxiliary role. Furthermore, the results show that natural antibody function is genetically constrained, and it should be possible to develop more functional synthetic antibody libraries by expanding the diversity of CDR-L3 beyond what is observed in nature.
Project description:We have previously isolated several IgG rheumatoid factors (RFs) from patients with both rheumatoid arthritis and idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura using phage display system. To study IgG RFs in patients with other autoimmune diseases, phage display antibody libraries from a hepatitis C virus infected patient with Sjögren's syndrome were constructed. After panning, a specific clone RFL11 was isolated for characterization in advance. The binding activity and specificity of RFL11 to IgG Fc fragment were comparable to those of RFs previously isolated. The analysis with existed RF-Fc complex structures indicated the homology model of RFL11 is similar to IgM RF61 complex with high binding affinity of about 6 × 10???M. This effect resulted from longer complementarity-determining region (CDR) combining key somatic mutations. In the RFL11-Fc interfaces, the CDR-H3 loop forms a finger-like structure extending into the bottom of Fc pocket and resulting in strong ion and cation-pi interactions. Moreover, a process of antigen-driven maturation was proven by somatically mutated VH residues on H2 and H3 CDR loops in the interfaces. Taken together, these results suggested that high affinity IgG RFs can be generated in patients with Sjögren's syndrome and may play an important role in the pathogenesis of this autoimmune disease.