Chimeric rabbit/human Fab antibodies against the hepatitis Be-antigen and their potential applications in assays, characterization, and therapy.
ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection afflicts millions worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer. HBV e-antigen (HBeAg), a clinical marker for disease severity, is a soluble variant of the viral capsid protein. HBeAg is not required for viral replication but is implicated in establishing immune tolerance and chronic infection. The structure of recombinant e-antigen (rHBeAg) was recently determined, yet to date, the exact nature and quantitation of HBeAg still remain uncertain. Here, to further characterize HBeAg, we used phage display to produce a panel of chimeric rabbit/human monoclonal antibody fragments (both Fab and scFv) against rHBeAg. Several of the Fab/scFv, expressed in Escherichia coli, had unprecedentedly high binding affinities (Kd ?10-12 m) and high specificity. We used Fab/scFv in the context of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for HBeAg quantification, which we compared with commercially available kits and verified with seroconversion panels, the WHO HBeAg standard, rHBeAg, and patient plasma samples. We found that the specificity and sensitivity are superior to those of existing commercial assays. To identify potential fine differences between rHBeAg and HBeAg, we used these Fabs in microscale immunoaffinity chromatography to purify HBeAg from individual patient plasmas. Western blotting and MS results indicated that rHBeAg and HBeAg are essentially structurally identical, although HBeAg from different patients exhibits minor carboxyl-terminal heterogeneity. We discuss several potential applications for the humanized Fab/scFv.
Project description:Multiple formats are available for engineering of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) by yeast surface display, but they do not all lead to efficient expression of functional molecules. We therefore expressed four anti-tumor necrosis factor and two anti-IpaD mAbs as single-chain variable fragment (scFv), antigen-binding fragment (Fab) or single-chain Fabs and compared their expression levels and antigen-binding efficiency. Although the scFv and scFab formats are widely used in the literature, 2 of 6 antibodies were either not or weakly expressed. In contrast, all 6 antibodies expressed as Fab revealed strong binding and high affinity, comparable to that of the soluble form. We also demonstrated that the variations in expression did not affect Fab functionality and were due to variations in light chain display and not to misfolded dimers. Our results suggest that Fab is the most versatile format for the engineering of mAbs.
Project description:A myriad of innovative bispecific antibody (BsAb) platforms have been reported. Most require significant protein engineering to be viable from a development and manufacturing perspective. Single-chain variable fragments (scFvs) and diabodies that consist only of antibody variable domains have been used as building blocks for making BsAbs for decades. The drawback with Fv-only moieties is that they lack the native-like interactions with CH1/CL domains that make antibody Fab regions stable and soluble. Here, we utilize a redesigned Fab interface to explore 2 novel Fab-based BsAbs platforms. The redesigned Fab interface designs limit heavy and light chain mixing when 2 Fabs are co-expressed simultaneously, thus allowing the use of 2 different Fabs within a BsAb construct without the requirement of one or more scFvs. We describe the stability and activity of a HER2×HER2 IgG-Fab BsAb, and compare its biophysical and activity properties with those of an IgG-scFv that utilizes the variable domains of the same parental antibodies. We also generated an EGFR × CD3 tandem Fab protein with a similar format to a tandem scFv (otherwise known as a bispecific T cell engager or BiTE). We show that the Fab-based BsAbs have superior biophysical properties compared to the scFv-based BsAbs. Additionally, the Fab-based BsAbs do not simply recapitulate the activity of their scFv counterparts, but are shown to possess unique biological activity.
Project description:Antibody therapeutics are one of the most important classes of drugs. Antibody structures have become an integral part of predicting the behavior of potential therapeutics, either directly or as the basis of modeling. Structures of Fab:antigen complexes have even greater value. While the crystallization and structure determination of Fabs is easy relative to many other protein classes, especially membrane proteins, broad screening and optimization of crystalline hits is still necessary. Through a comprehensive review of rabbit Fab crystal contacts and their incompatibility with human Fabs, we identified a small secondary structural element from the rabbit light chain constant domain potentially responsible for hindering the crystallization of human Fabs. Upon replacing the human kappa constant domain FG loop (HQGLSSP) with the two residue shorter rabbit loop (QGTTS), we dramatically improved the crystallization of human Fabs and Fab:antigen complexes. Our design, which we call "Crystal Kappa", enables rapid crystallization of human fabs and fab complexes in a broad range of conditions, with less material in smaller screens or from dilute solutions.
Project description:Although antigen-binding fragments (Fabs) of antibodies constitute established tracers for in vivo radiodiagnostics, their functionality is hampered by a very short circulation half-life. PASylation, the genetic fusion with a long, conformationally disordered amino acid chain comprising Pro, Ala and Ser, provides a convenient way to expand protein size and, consequently, retard renal filtration. Humanized ?HER2 and ?CD20 Fabs were systematically fused with 100 to 600 PAS residues and produced in E. coli. Cytofluorimetric titration analysis on tumor cell lines confirmed that antigen-binding activities of the parental antibodies were retained. The radio-iodinated PASylated Fabs were studied by positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and biodistribution analysis in mouse tumor xenograft models. While the unmodified ?HER2 and ?CD20 Fabs showed weak tumor uptake (0.8% and 0.2% ID/g, respectively; 24 h p.i.) tumor-associated radioactivity was boosted with increasing PAS length (up to 9 and 26-fold, respectively), approaching an optimum for Fab-PAS400. Remarkably, 6- and 5-fold higher tumor-to-blood ratios compared with the unmodified Fabs were measured in the biodistribution analysis (48 h p.i.) for ?HER2 Fab-PAS100 and Fab-PAS200, respectively. These findings were confirmed by PET studies, showing high imaging contrast in line with tumor-to-blood ratios of 12.2 and 5.7 (24 h p.i.) for ?HER2 Fab-PAS100 and Fab-PAS200. Even stronger tumor signals were obtained with the corresponding ?CD20 Fabs, both in PET imaging and biodistribution analysis, with an uptake of 2.8% ID/g for Fab-PAS100 vs. 0.24% ID/g for the unmodified Fab. Hence, by engineering Fabs via PASylation, plasma half-life can be tailored to significantly improve tracer uptake and tumor contrast, thus optimally matching reagent/target interactions.
Project description:Rev is a key regulatory protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Its function is to bind to viral transcripts and effect export from the nucleus of unspliced mRNA, thereby allowing the synthesis of structural proteins. Despite its evident importance, the structure of Rev has remained unknown, primarily because Rev's proclivity for polymerization and aggregation is an impediment to crystallization. Monoclonal antibody antigen-binding domains (Fabs) have proven useful for the co-crystallization of other refractory proteins. In the present study, a chimeric rabbit/human anti-Rev Fab was selected by phage display, expressed in a bacterial secretion system, and purified from the media. The Fab readily solubilized polymeric Rev. The resulting Fab/Rev complex was purified by metal ion affinity chromatography and characterized by analytical ultracentrifugation, which demonstrated monodispersity and indicated a 1:1 molar stoichiometry. The Fab binds with very high affinity, as determined by surface plasmon resonance, to a conformational epitope in the N-terminal half of Rev. The complex forms crystals suitable for structure determination. The ability to serve as a crystallization aid is a new application of broad utility for chimeric rabbit/human Fab. The corresponding single-chain antibody (scFv) was also prepared, offering the potential of intracellular antibody therapeutics against human immunodeficiency virus type 1.
Project description:Immunoconjugates and multispecific antibodies are rapidly emerging as highly potent experimental therapeutics against cancer. We have developed a method to incorporate an unnatural amino acid, p-acetylphenylalanine (pAcPhe) into an antibody antigen binding fragment (Fab) targeting HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), allowing site-specific labeling without disrupting antigen binding. Expression levels of the pAcPhe-containing proteins were comparable to that of wild-type protein in shake-flask and fermentation preparations. The pAcPhe-Fabs were labeled by reaction with hydroxylamine dye and biotin species to produce well-defined, singly conjugated Fabs. We then coupled a hydroxylamine biotin to the pAcPhe-Fab and demonstrated controlled assembly of Fabs in the presence of the tetrameric biotin-binding protein, NeutrAvidin. The position of Fab biotinylation dictates the geometry of multimer assembly, producing unique multimeric Fab structures. These assembled Fab multimers differentially attenuate Her2 phosphorylation in breast cancer cells that overexpress the Her2 receptor. Thus, an encoded unnatural amino acid produces a chemical "handle" by which immunoconjugates and multimers can be engineered.
Project description:Fabs offer an attractive platform for monoclonal antibody discovery/engineering, but library construction can be cumbersome. We report a simple method - Golden Gate assembly with a bi-directional promoter (GBid) - for constructing phage display Fab libraries. In GBid, the constant domains of the Fabs are located in the backbone of the phagemid vector and the library insert comprises only the variable regions of the antibodies and a central bi-directional promoter. This vector design reduces the process of Fab library construction to "scFv-like" simplicity and the double promoter ensures robust expression of both constituent chains. To maximize the library size, the 3 fragments comprising the insert - two variable chains and one bi-directional promoter - are assembled via a 3-fragment overlap extension PCR and the insert is incorporated into the vector via a high-efficiency one-fragment, one-pot Golden Gate assembly. The reaction setup requires minimal preparatory work and enzyme quantities, making GBid highly scalable. Using GBid, we constructed a chimeric chicken-human Fab phage display library comprising 1010 variants targeting the multi-transmembrane protein human CD20 (hCD20). Selection/counter-selection on transfected whole cells yielded hCD20-specific antibodies in four rounds of panning. The simplicity and scalability of GBid makes it a powerful tool for the discovery/engineering of Fabs and IgGs.
Project description:Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection afflicts millions worldwide with cirrhosis and liver cancer. HBV e-antigen (HBeAg), a clinical marker for disease severity, is a nonparticulate variant of the protein (core antigen, HBcAg) that forms the building-blocks of capsids. HBeAg is not required for virion production, but is implicated in establishing immune tolerance and chronic infection. Here, we report the crystal structure of HBeAg, which clarifies how the short N-terminal propeptide of HBeAg induces a radically altered mode of dimerization relative to HBcAg (?140° rotation), locked into place through formation of intramolecular disulfide bridges. This structural switch precludes capsid assembly and engenders a distinct antigenic repertoire, explaining why the two antigens are cross-reactive at the T cell level (through sequence identity) but not at the B cell level (through conformation). The structure offers insight into how HBeAg may establish immune tolerance for HBcAg while evading its robust immunogenicity.
Project description:For antibody discovery and engineering, yeast surface display (YSD) of antigen-binding fragments (Fabs) and coupled fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) provide intact paratopic conformations and quantitative analysis at the monoclonal level, and thus holding great promises for numerous applications. Using anti-TNF? mAbs Infliximab, Adalimumab, and its variants as model Fabs, this study systematically characterized complementary approaches for the optimization of Fab YSD. Results suggested that by using divergent promoter GAL1-GAL10 and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) signal peptides for co-expression of light chain and heavy chain-Aga2 fusion, assembled Fabs were functionally displayed on yeast cell surface with sigmoidal binding responses toward TNF?. Co-expression of a Hsp70 family molecular chaperone Kar2p and/or protein-disulfide isomerase (Pdi1p) significantly improved efficiency of functional display (defined as the ratio of cells displaying functional Fab over cells displaying assembled Fab). Moreover, fusing ER retention sequences (ERSs) with light chain also enhanced Fab display quality at the expense of display quantity, and the degree of improvements was correlated with the strength of ERSs and was more significant for Infliximab than Adalimumab. The feasibility of affinity maturation was further demonstrated by isolating a high affinity Fab clone from 1:103 or 1:105 spiked libraries.
Project description:Generated by proteolytic cleavage of immunoglobulin, Fab fragments possess great promise as blocking reagents, able to bind receptors or other targets without inducing cross-linking. However, aggregation of Fab preparations is a common occurrence, which generates intrinsic stimulatory capacity and thwarts signal blockade strategies. Using a panel of biochemical approaches, including size exclusion chromatography, SDS-PAGE, mass spectrometry, and cell stimulation followed by flow cytometry, we have measured the oligomerization and acquisition of stimulatory capacity that occurs in four monoclonal IgG Fabs specific for TCR/CD3. Unexpectedly, we observed that all Fabs spontaneously formed complexes that were precisely bivalent, and these bivalent complexes possessed most of the stimulatory activity of each Fab preparation. Fabs composing bivalent complexes were more susceptible to proteolysis than monovalent Fabs, indicating a difference in conformation between the Fabs involved in these two different states of valency. Because osmolytes represent a class of compounds that stabilize protein folding and conformation, we sought to determine the extent to which the amino acid osmolyte l-proline might impact bivalent Fab complexation. We found that l-proline (i) inhibited the adoption of the conformation associated with bivalent complexation, (ii) preserved Fab monovalency, (iii) reversed the conformation of preformed bivalent Fabs to that of monovalent Fabs, and (iv) separated a significant percentage of preformed bivalent complexes into monovalent species. Thus, Fab fragments can adopt a conformation that is compatible with folding or packing of a bivalent complex in a process that can be inhibited by osmolytes.