skip to main content

Title: Affibody-Binding Ligands
While antibodies remain established therapeutic and diagnostic tools, other protein scaffolds are emerging as effective and safer alternatives. Affibodies in particular are a new class of small proteins marketed as bio-analytic reagents. They feature tailorable binding affinity, low immunogenicity, high tissue permeation, and high expression titer in bacterial hosts. This work presents the development of affibody-binding peptides to be utilized as ligands for their purification from bacterial lysates. Affibody-binding candidates were identified by screening a peptide library simultaneously against two model affibodies (anti-immunoglobulin G (IgG) and anti-albumin) with the aim of selecting peptides targeting the conserved domain of affibodies. An ensemble of homologous sequences identified from screening was synthesized on Toyopearl® resin and evaluated via binding studies to select sequences that afford high product binding and recovery. The affibody–peptide interaction was also evaluated by in silico docking, which corroborated the targeting of the conserved domain. Ligand IGKQRI was validated through purification of an anti-ErbB2 affibody from an Escherichia coli lysate. The values of binding capacity (~5 mg affibody per mL of resin), affinity (KD ~1 μM), recovery and purity (64–71% and 86–91%), and resin lifetime (100 cycles) demonstrate that IGKQRI can be employed as ligand in affibody purification processes.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The recent uptick in the approval of ex vivo cell therapies highlights the relevance of lentivirus (LV) as an enabling viral vector of modern medicine. As labile biologics, however, LVs pose critical challenges to industrial biomanufacturing. In particular, LV purification—currently reliant on filtration and anion-exchange or size-exclusion chromatography—suffers from long process times and low yield of transducing particles, which translate into high waiting time and cost to patients. Seeking to improve LV downstream processing, this study introduces peptides targeting the enveloped protein Vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV-G) to serve as affinity ligands for the chromatographic purification of LV particles. An ensemble of candidate ligands was initially discovered by implementing a dual-fluorescence screening technology and a targeted in silico approach designed to identify sequences with high selectivity and tunable affinity. The selected peptides were conjugated on Poros resin and their LV binding-and-release performance was optimized by adjusting the flow rate, composition, and pH of the chromatographic buffers. Ligands GKEAAFAA and SRAFVGDADRD were selected for their high product yield (50%–60% of viral genomes; 40%–50% of HT1080 cell-transducing particles) upon elution in PIPES buffer with 0.65 M NaCl at pH 7.4. The peptide-based adsorbents also presented remarkable values of binding capacity (up to 3·109 TU per mL of resin, or 5·1011 vp per mL of resin, at the residence time of 1 min) and clearance of host cell proteins (up to a 220-fold reduction of HEK293 HCPs). Additionally, GKEAAFAA demonstrated high resistance to caustic cleaning-in-place (0.5 M NaOH, 30 min) with no observable loss in product yield and quality. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Adeno‐associated viruses (AAVs) have acquired a central role in modern medicine as delivery agents for gene therapies targeting rare diseases. While new AAVs with improved tissue targeting, potency, and safety are being introduced, their biomanufacturing technology is lagging. In particular, the AAV purification pipeline hinges on protein ligands for the affinity‐based capture step. While featuring excellent AAV binding capacity and selectivity, these ligands require strong acid (pH <3) elution conditions, which can compromise the product's activity and stability. Additionally, their high cost and limited lifetime has a significant impact on the price tag of AAV‐based therapies. Seeking to introduce a more robust and affordable affinity technology, this study introduces a cohort of peptide ligands that (i) mimic the biorecognition activity of the AAV receptor (AAVR) and anti‐AAV antibody A20, (ii) enable product elution under near‐physiological conditions (pH 6.0), and (iii) grant extended reusability by withstanding multiple regenerations. A20‐mimetic CYIHFSGYTNYNPSLKSC and AAVR‐mimetic CVIDGSQSTDDDKIC demonstrated excellent capture of serotypes belonging to distinct clones/clades – namely, AAV1, AAV2, AAV5, AAV6, AAV8, and AAV9. This corroborates the in silico models documenting their ability to target regions of the viral capsid that are conserved across all serotypes. CVIDGSQSTDDDKIC‐Toyopearl resin features binding capacity (≈1014vp mL−1) and product yields (≈60%–80%) on par with commercial adsorbents, and purifies AAV2 from HEK293 and Sf9 cell lysates with high recovery (up to 78%), reduction of host cell proteins (up to 700‐fold), and high transduction activity (up to 65%).

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Proteins gain optimal fitness such as foldability and function through evolutionary selection. However, classical studies have found that evolutionarily designed protein sequences alone cannot guarantee foldability, or at least not without considering local contacts associated with the initial folding steps. We previously showed that foldability and function can be restored by removing frustration in the folding energy landscape of a model WW domain protein, CC16, which was designed based on Statistical Coupling Analysis (SCA). Substitutions ensuring the formation of five local contacts identified as “on‐path” were selected using the closest homolog native folded sequence, N21. Surprisingly, the resulting sequence, CC16‐N21, bound to Group I peptides, while N21 did not. Here, we identified single‐point mutations that enable N21 to bind a Group I peptide ligand through structure and dynamic‐based computational design. Comparison of the docked position of the CC16‐N21/ligand complex with the N21 structure showed that residues at positions 9 and 19 are important for peptide binding, whereas the dynamic profiles identified position 10 as allosterically coupled to the binding site and exhibiting different dynamics between N21 and CC16‐N21. We found that swapping these positions in N21 with matched residues from CC16‐N21 recovers nature‐like binding affinity to N21. This study validates the use of dynamic profiles as guiding principles for affecting the binding affinity of small proteins.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Affinity precipitation using stimulus‐responsive biopolymers such as elastin‐like polypeptides (ELPs) have been successfully employed for the purification of monoclonal antibodies. In the current work, we extend these studies to the development of an ELP‐peptide fusion for the affinity precipitation of the therapeutically relevant small non‐mAb biologic, AdP. A 12‐mer affinity peptide ligand (P10) was identified by a primary phage biopanning followed by a secondary in‐solution fluorescence polarization screen. Peptide P10 and AdP interacted with aKDof 19.5 µM. A fusion of P10 with ELP was then shown to be successful in selectively capturing the biologic from a crude mixture. While pH shifts alone were not sufficient for product elution, the use of pH in concert with fluid‐phase modifiers such as NaCl, arginine, or ethylene glycol was effective. In particular, the use of pH 8.5 and an arginine concentration of 500 mM enabled >80% product recovery. The overall process performance evaluated by sodium dodecyl sulfate‐polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and reversed‐phase ultra‐performance liquid chromatography analyses indicated successful single‐step purification of the biologic from anEscherichia colilysate resulting in ∼90% purity and >80% recovery. These results demonstrate that phage display can be readily employed to identify a peptide ligand capable of successfully carrying out the purification of a non‐antibody biological product using ELP‐based affinity precipitation.

    more » « less
  5. The impact of next-generation biorecognition elements (ligands) will be determined by the ability to remotely control their binding activity for a target biomolecule in complex environments. Compared to conventional mechanisms for regulating binding affinity (pH, ionic strength, or chaotropic agents), light provides higher accuracy and rapidity, and is particularly suited for labile targets. In this study, we demonstrate a general method to develop azobenzene-cyclized peptide ligands with light-controlled affinity for target proteins. Light triggers a cis/trans isomerization of the azobenzene, which results in a major structural rearrangement of the cyclic peptide from a non-binding to a binding configuration. Critical to this goal are the abiliy to achieve efficient photo-isomerization under low light dosage and the temporal stability of both cis and trans isomers. We demonstrated our method by designing photo-switchable peptides targeting vascular cell adhesion marker 1 (VCAM1), a cell marker implicated in stem cell function. Starting from a known VCAM1-binding linear peptide, an ensemble of azobenzene-cyclized variants with selective light-controlled binding were identified by combining in silico design with experimental characterization via spectroscopy and surface plasmon resonance. Variant cycloAZOB[G-VHAKQHRN-K] featured rapid, light-controlled binding of VCAM1 (KD,Trans/KD,Cis ~ 130). Biotin-cycloAZOB[G-VHAKQHRN-K] was utilized to label brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMECs), showing co-localization with anti-VCAM1 antibodies in cis configuration and negligible binding in trans configuration. 
    more » « less