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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.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC5633136 | BioStudies | 2017-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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