Modulating Antibody Structure and Function through Directed Mutations and Chemical Rescue

Christine E. Kaiser, Juan Pablo Rincon Pabon, Jittasak Khowsathit, M. Paola Castaldi, Steven L. Kazmirski, David D. Weis, Andrew X. Zhang, John Karanicolas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monoclonal antibody therapeutics have revolutionized the treatment of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders, and also serve as research reagents for diverse and unparalleled applications. To extend their utility in both contexts, we have begun development of tunable antibodies, whose activity can be controlled by addition of a small molecule. Conceptually, we envision that incorporating cavity-forming mutations into an antibody can disrupt its structure, thereby reducing its affinity for antigen; addition of a small molecule may then restore the active structure, and thus rescue antigen binding. As a first proof of concept toward implementing this strategy, we have incorporated individual tryptophan to glycine mutations into FITC-E2, an anti-fluorescein single-chain variable fragment (scFv). We find that these can disrupt the protein structure and diminish antigen binding, and further that both structure and function can be rescued by addition of indole to complement the deleted side chain. While the magnitude of the affinity difference triggered by indole is modest in this first model system, it nonetheless provides a framework for future mutation/ligand pairs that may induce more dramatic responses. Disrupting and subsequently rescuing antibody activity, as exemplified by this first example, may represent a new approach to “design in” fine-tuned control of antibody activity for a variety of future applications.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1152–1162
Number of pages11
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2018

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