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1.  Single-chain Fv phage display propensity exhibits strong positive correlation with overall expression levels 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:97.
Single chain Fvs (scFvs) are widely applied in research, diagnostics and therapeutic settings. Display and selection from combinatorial libraries is the main route to their discovery and many factors influence the success of this process. They exhibit low thermodynamic stability, resulting in low levels of premature cytosolic folding or aggregation which facilitates sec YEG-mediated translocation and phage in E. coli. However, there is little data analysing how this is related to and influenced by scFv protein expression.
We characterised the relationship between overall scFv expression and display propensity for a panel of 15 anti-tetanus toxin scFvs and found a strong positive correlation (Rho = 0.88, p < 0.005) between the two parameters. Display propensity, overall expression and soluble localisation to the periplasm and extracellular fractions were clone specific characteristics which varied despite high levels of sequence homology. There was no correlation between display of scFv or its expression in non-fused (free) form with soluble scFv localisation to the periplasm or culture supernatant. This suggests that divergence in the fate of scFv-pIII and non-fused scFv after translocation to the periplasm accounts for the observed disparity. Differential degrees of periplasmic aggregation of non-fused scFv between clones may affect the partitioning of scFv in the periplasm and culture supernatant abrogating any correlation. We suggest that these factors do not apply to the scFv-pIII fusion since it remains anchored to the bacterial inner membrane as part of the innate phage packaging and budding process.
We conclude that in the absence of premature cytosolic aggregation or folding, the propensity of a scFv to be displayed on phage is directly related to its overall expression level and is thus indirectly influenced by factors such as codon bias, mRNA abundance or putative DNA motifs affecting expression. This suggests that scFvs capable of high overall expression and display levels may not produce high yields of non phage-fused soluble protein in either the periplasmic or extracellular fractions of E. coli. This should be considered when screening clones selected from combinatorial libraries for further study.
The nucleotide and amino acid sequences of the anti-tetanus toxin scFvs have been deposited in the EMBL data base: accession numbers-C1: AM749134, C2: AM749135, C3: AM749136, C4: AM749137, C5: AM749138, N1: AM749139, N2: AM749140, N3: AM749141, N4: AM749142, N5: AM749143 J1; AM749144, J2: AM749145, J3: AM749146, J4: AM749147, J5: AM749148.
PMCID: PMC2630973  PMID: 19113995
2.  Preparation of single chain variable fragment of MG7 mAb by phage display technology 
AIM: To develop the single chain variable fragment of MG7 murine anti-human gastric cancer monoclonal antibody using the phage display technology for obtaining a tumor-targeting mediator.
METHODS: mRNA was isolated from MG7 producing murine hybridoma cell line and converted into cDNA. The variable fragments of heavy and light chain were amplified separately and assembled into ScFv with a specially constructed DNA linker by PCR. The ScFvs DNA was ligated into the phagmid vector pCANTAB5E and the ligated sample was transformed into competent E. Coli TG1. The transformed cells were infected with M13K07 helper phage to form MG7 recombinant phage antibody library. The volume and recombinant rate of the library were evaluated by means of bacterial colony count and restriction analysis. After two rounds of panning with gastric cancer cell line KATOIII of highly expressing MG7-binding antigen, the phage clones displaying ScFv of the antibody were selected by ELISA from the enriched phage clones. The antigen binding affinity of the positive clone was detected by competition ELISA. HB2151 E.coli was transfected with the positive phage clone demonstrated by competition ELISA for production of a soluble form of the MG7 ScFv. ELISA assay was used to detect the antigen-binding affinity of the soluble MG7 ScFv. Finally, the relative molecular mass of soluble MG7 ScFv was measured by SDS-PAGE.
RESULTS: The V-H, V-L and ScFv DNAs were about 340 bp, 320 bp and 750 bp, respectively. The volume of the library was up to 2 × 106 and 8 of 11 random clones were recombinants. Two phage clones could strongly compete with the original MG7 antibody for binding to the antigen expressed on KATOIII cells. Within 2 strong positive phage clones, the soluble MG7 ScFv from one clone was found to have the binding activity with KATOIII cells. SDS-PAGE showed that the relative molecular weight of soluble MG7 ScFv was 32.
CONCLUSION: The MG7 ScFv was successfully produced by phage antibody technology, which may be useful for broadening the scope of application of the antibody.
PMCID: PMC4688663  PMID: 11819819
antibodies, neoplasms/biosynthesis; antibodies, monoclonal; stomach neoplasms/immunology; bacteriophages/genetics
3.  Characterization of antibodies in single-chain format against the E7 oncoprotein of the Human papillomavirus type 16 and their improvement by mutagenesis 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:25.
Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are the etiological agents of cervical cancer. The viral E7 protein plays a crucial role in viral oncogenesis. Many strategies have been explored to block the E7 oncoprotein activity. The single-chain variable antibody fragments (scFvs) are valuable tools in cancer immunotherapy and can be used as "intracellular antibodies" to knock out specific protein functions. For both in vivo and in vitro employment, the scFv intrinsic solubility and stability are important to achieve long-lasting effects. Here we report the characterization in terms of reactivity, solubility and thermal stability of three anti-HPV16 E7 scFvs. We have also analysed the scFv43 sequence with the aim of improving stability and then activity of the antibody, previously shown to have antiproliferative activity when expressed in HPV16-positive cells.
The three anti-HPV16 E7 scFv 32, 43 51 were selected from the ETH-2 "phage-display" library. Thermal stability was evaluated with ELISA by determining the residual activity of each purified scFv against the recombinant HPV16 E7, after incubation in the presence of human seroalbumine for different time-intervals at different temperatures. Sequence analysis of the scFvs was performed with BLAST and CLUSTALL programs. The scFv43 aminoacid changes were reverted back to the consensus sequence from the immunoglobuline database by site-directed mutagenesis. ScFv solubility was evaluated with Western blotting by determining their relative amounts in the soluble and insoluble fractions of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems.
ScFv51 was the most thermally stable scFv considered. Sequence analysis of the most reactive scFv43 has evidenced 2 amino acid changes possibly involved in molecule stability, in the VH and VL CDR3 regions respectively. By mutagenesis, two novel scFv43-derived scFvs were obtained, scFv43 M1 and M2. ScFv43 M2 showed to have improved thermal stability and solubility in comparison with the parental scFv43.
The characterization of 5 specific anti-HPV16 E7 scFvs shows features important for their activity in vivo. ScFv43 M2 shows higher thermal stability with respect to the parental scFv43, and scFv51 shows high stability and solubility. These properties make the 2 scFvs the best candidates to be tested for anti-E7 activity in vivo.
PMCID: PMC1797048  PMID: 17266749
4.  96 Recombinant SCFV Antibodies for IGE Epitope Mapping and Detection of Parvalbumins 
Parvalbumin, the major fish allergen, is responsible for IgE cross-reactivity among different fish species. We aimed to generate recombinant single chain antibody fragments (scFv) binding to epitopes responsible for IgE cross-reactivity among parvalbumins.
The parvalbumin-specific scFvs were selected from the human synthetic scFv phage library ETH-2 by alternating the parvalbumin from cod (Gad m 1), carp (Cyp c 1) and trout (Onc m 1) during 3 rounds of sequential biopanning. Based on their reactivity to parvalbumins by ELISA, 2 clones were expressed in Escherichia coli. The ability of the 2 scFv antibodies to inhibit the binding of parvalbumin-specific IgE from fish allergic patients’ sera was showed by ELISA competition experiments and the rat basophilic leukemia mediator release assay.
Based on ability to bind different parvalbumins and sequence analysis, phage clones scFv-gco9 and scFv-goo8 were selected for production of soluble scFv antibodies. We obtained 1 mg of scFv-gco9 and 1.3 mg of scFv-goo8 per litre of bacterial culture. The scFv-gco9 was able to detect all 3 parvalbumins at a concentration of 10 ng/mL. The scFv-goo8 bound to cod parvalbumin, but not to carp and trout parvalbumin. The detection limit for 1 μg/mL of the scFv-gco9 was 0.01 μg/mL of the Gad m 1 and 0.2 μg/mL of Onc m 1 or Cyp c 1. We found that scFv-gco9 dose-dependently blocked the binding of IgE to immobilized Gad m 1, Cyp c 1 and Onc m 1. At a concentration of 5 μg/mL of scFv-gco9 binding of IgE to the 3 parvalbumins was inhibited by approximately 40%, and at a concentration of 20 μg/mL the IgE binding was inhibited to ∼70%. In the case of the scFv-goo8, inhibition of IgE binding to Gad m 1 was about 15%. The inhibition of degranulation of basophils was 55% in the presence of 2 μg/mL scFv-gco9.
This work, supported by grant SFB-F01802, revealed that the scFv antibodies can be used for the standardization of protein extracts used for allergy diagnosis and for IgE epitope mapping. Epitope characterization enables the engineering of parvalbumin molecules with reduced IgE binding for allergen-specific immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3512664
5.  Development of Phage-Based Single Chain Fv Antibody Reagents for Detection of Yersinia pestis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27756.
Most Yersinia pestis strains are known to express a capsule-like antigen, fraction 1 (F1). F1 is encoded by the caf1 gene located on the large 100-kb pFra plasmid, which is found in Y. pestis but not in closely related species such as Yersinia enterocolytica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. In order to find antibodies specifically binding to Y. pestis we screened a large single chain Fv antibody fragment (scFv) phage display library using purified F1 antigen as a selection target. Different forms of the selected antibodies were used to establish assays for recombinant F1 antigen and Y. pestis detection.
Phage antibody panning was performed against F1 in an automated fashion using the Kingfisher magnetic bead system. Selected scFvs were screened for F1-binding specificity by one-step alkaline phosphatase enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA), and assayed for binding to recombinant antigen and/or Y. pestis by flow cytometry and whole-cell ELISA.
Seven of the eight selected scFvs were shown to specifically bind both recombinant F1 and a panel of F1-positive Yersinia cells. The majority of the soluble scFvs were found to be difficult to purify, unstable and prone to cross-reactivity with F1-negative Yersinia strains, whereas phage displayed scFvs were found to be easy to purify/label and remarkably stable. Furthermore direct fluorescent labeling of phage displaying scFv allowed for an easy one-step flow cytometry assay. Slight cross-reactivity was observed when fixed cells were used in ELISA.
Our high throughput methods of selection and screening allowed for time and cost effective discovery of seven scFvs specifically binding Y. pestis F1 antigen. We describe implementation of different methods for phage-based immunoassay. Based on the success of these methods and the proven stability of phage, we indicate that the use of phage-displayed, rather than phage-free proteins, might generally overcome the shortcomings of scFv antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3234238  PMID: 22174746
6.  Differentiation of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis by Using Recombinant Human Antibody Single-Chain Variable Fragments Specific for Hyphae 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(3):1152-1160.
To identify antigens specific for the filamentous form of Candida albicans, a combinatorial phage display library expressing human immunoglobulin heavy and light chain variable regions was used to select phage clones capable of binding to the surfaces of viable C. albicans filaments. Eight distinct phage clones that bound specifically to filament surface antigens not expressed on blastoconidia were identified. Single-chain antibody variable fragments (scFv) derived from two of these phage clones (scFv5 and scFv12) were characterized in detail. Filament-specific antigen expression was detected by an indirect immunofluorescence assay. ScFv5 reacted with C. dubliniensis filaments, while scFv12 did not. Neither scFv reacted with C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. rugosa, C. tropicalis, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae grown under conditions that stimulated filament formation in C. albicans and C. dubliniensis. Epitope detection by the two scFv was sensitive to proteinase K treatment but not to periodate treatment, indicating that the cognate epitopes were composed of protein. The antigens reactive with scFv5 and scFv12 were extractable from the cell surface with Zymolyase, but not with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and 2-mercaptoethanol, and migrated as polydisperse, high-molecular-weight bands on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels. The epitopes were detected on clinical specimens obtained from infants with thrush and urinary candidiasis without passage of the organisms on laboratory media, confirming epitope expression in human infection. The availability of a monoclonal immunologic reagent that recognizes filaments from both C. albicans and C. dubliniensis and another specific only to C. albicans adds to the repertoire of potential diagnostic reagents for differentiation between these closely related species.
PMCID: PMC150300  PMID: 12624045
7.  Global Mortality Estimates for the 2009 Influenza Pandemic from the GLaMOR Project: A Modeling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001558.
Lone Simonsen and colleagues use a two-stage statistical modeling approach to estimate the global mortality burden of the 2009 influenza pandemic from mortality data obtained from multiple countries.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Assessing the mortality impact of the 2009 influenza A H1N1 virus (H1N1pdm09) is essential for optimizing public health responses to future pandemics. The World Health Organization reported 18,631 laboratory-confirmed pandemic deaths, but the total pandemic mortality burden was substantially higher. We estimated the 2009 pandemic mortality burden through statistical modeling of mortality data from multiple countries.
Methods and Findings
We obtained weekly virology and underlying cause-of-death mortality time series for 2005–2009 for 20 countries covering ∼35% of the world population. We applied a multivariate linear regression model to estimate pandemic respiratory mortality in each collaborating country. We then used these results plus ten country indicators in a multiple imputation model to project the mortality burden in all world countries. Between 123,000 and 203,000 pandemic respiratory deaths were estimated globally for the last 9 mo of 2009. The majority (62%–85%) were attributed to persons under 65 y of age. We observed a striking regional heterogeneity, with almost 20-fold higher mortality in some countries in the Americas than in Europe. The model attributed 148,000–249,000 respiratory deaths to influenza in an average pre-pandemic season, with only 19% in persons <65 y. Limitations include lack of representation of low-income countries among single-country estimates and an inability to study subsequent pandemic waves (2010–2012).
We estimate that 2009 global pandemic respiratory mortality was ∼10-fold higher than the World Health Organization's laboratory-confirmed mortality count. Although the pandemic mortality estimate was similar in magnitude to that of seasonal influenza, a marked shift toward mortality among persons <65 y of age occurred, so that many more life-years were lost. The burden varied greatly among countries, corroborating early reports of far greater pandemic severity in the Americas than in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. A collaborative network to collect and analyze mortality and hospitalization surveillance data is needed to rapidly establish the severity of future pandemics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza—a viral infection of the airways—and hundreds of thousands of people (mainly elderly individuals) die as a result. These seasonal epidemics occur because small but frequent changes in the influenza virus mean that the immune response produced by infection with one year's virus provides only partial protection against the next year's virus. Influenza viruses also occasionally emerge that are very different. Human populations have virtually no immunity to these new viruses, which can start global epidemics (pandemics) that kill millions of people. The most recent influenza pandemic, which was first recognized in Mexico in March 2009, was caused by the 2009 influenza A H1N1 pandemic (H1N1pdm09) virus. This virus spread rapidly, and on 11 June 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that an influenza pandemic was underway. H1N1pdm09 caused a mild disease in most people it infected, but by the time WHO announced that the pandemic was over (10 August 2010), there had been 18,632 laboratory-confirmed deaths from H1N1pdm09.
Why Was This Study Done?
The modest number of laboratory-confirmed H1N1pdm09 deaths has caused commentators to wonder whether the public health response to H1N1pdm09 was excessive. However, as is the case with all influenza epidemics, the true mortality (death) burden from H1N1pdm09 is substantially higher than these figures indicate because only a minority of influenza-related deaths are definitively diagnosed by being confirmed in laboratory. Many influenza-related deaths result from secondary bacterial infections or from exacerbation of preexisting chronic conditions, and are not recorded as related to influenza infection. A more complete assessment of the impact of H1N1pdm09 on mortality is essential for the optimization of public health responses to future pandemics. In this modeling study (the Global Pandemic Mortality [GLaMOR] project), researchers use a two-stage statistical modeling approach to estimate the global mortality burden of the 2009 influenza pandemic from mortality data obtained from multiple countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained weekly virology data from the World Health Organization FluNet database and national influenza centers to identify influenza active periods, and obtained weekly national underlying cause-of-death time series for 2005–2009 from collaborators in more than 20 countries (35% of the world's population). They used a multivariate linear regression model to measure the numbers and rates of pandemic influenza respiratory deaths in each of these countries. Then, in the second stage of their analysis, they used a multiple imputation model that took into account country-specific geographical, economic, and health indicators to project the single-country estimates to all world countries. The researchers estimated that between 123,000 and 203,000 pandemic influenza respiratory deaths occurred globally from 1 April through 31 December 2009. Most of these deaths (62%–85%) occurred in people younger than 65 years old. There was a striking regional heterogeneity in deaths, with up to 20-fold higher mortality in Central and South American countries than in European countries. Finally, the model attributed 148,000–249,000 respiratory deaths to influenza in an average pre-pandemic season. Notably, only 19% of these deaths occurred in people younger than 65 years old.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that respiratory mortality from the 2009 influenza pandemic was about 10-fold higher than laboratory-confirmed mortality. The true total mortality burden is likely to be even higher because deaths that occurred late in the winter of 2009–2010 and in later pandemic waves were missed in this analysis, and only pandemic influenza deaths that were recorded as respiratory deaths were included. The lack of single-country estimates from low-income countries may also limit the accuracy of these findings. Importantly, although the researchers' estimates of mortality from H1N1pdm09 and from seasonal influenza were of similar magnitude, the shift towards mortality among younger people means that more life-years were lost during the 2009 influenza pandemic than during an average pre-pandemic influenza season. Although the methods developed by the GLaMOR project can be used to make robust and comparable mortality estimates in future influenza pandemics, the lack of timeliness of such estimates needs to be remedied. One potential remedy, suggest the researchers, would be to establish a collaborative network that analyzes timely hospitalization and/or mortality data provided by sentinel countries. Such a network should be able to provide the rapid and reliable data about the severity of pandemic threats that is needed to guide public health policy decisions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about influenza for patients and professionals, including archived information on H1N1pdm09, a US government website, provides access to information on seasonal and pandemic influenza H1N1pdm09
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza and on the global response to H1N1pdm09, including a publication on the evolution of H1N1pdm09 (some information in several languages). Information on FluNet, a global tool for influenza surveillance, is also available
Public Health England provides information on pandemic influenza and archived information on H1N1pdm09
More information for patients about H1N1pdm09 is available through Choices, an information resource provided by the UK National Health Service
More information about the GLaMOR project is available
PMCID: PMC3841239  PMID: 24302890
8.  Human scFv antibody fragments specific for hepatocellular carcinoma selected from a phage display library 
AIM: To identify the scFv antibody fragments specific for hepatocellular carcinoma by biopanning from a large human naive scFv phage display library.
METHODS: A large human naive scFv phage library was used to search for the specific targets by biopanning with the hepatocellular carcinoma cell line HepG2 for the positive-selecting and the normal liver cell line L02 for the counter-selecting. After three rounds of biopanning, individual scFv phages binding selectively to HepG2 cells were picked out. PCR was carried out for identification of the clones containing scFv gene sequence. The specific scFv phages were selected by ELISA and flow cytometry. DNA sequences of positive clones were analyzed by using Applied Biosystem Automated DNA sequencers 3730. The expression proteins of the specific scFv antibody fragments in E.coli HB2151 were purified by the affinity chromatography and detected by SDS-PAGE, Western blot and ELISA. The biological effect of the soluble antibody fragments on the HepG2 cells was investigated by observing the cell proliferation.
RESULTS: Two different positive clones were obtained and the functional variable sequences were identified. Their DNA sequences of the scFv antibody fragments were submitted to GenBank (accession nos: AY686498 and AY686499). The soluble scFv antibody fragments were successfully expressed in E.coli HB2151. The relative molecular mass of the expression products was about 36 ku, according to its predicted Mr value. The two soluble scFv antibody fragments also had specific binding activity and obvious growth inhibition properties to HepG2 cells.
CONCLUSION: The phage library biopanning permits identification of specific antibody fragments for hepatocellular carcinoma and affords experiment evidence for its immunotherapy study.
PMCID: PMC4502091  PMID: 15996020
ScFv; Biopanning; HCC; IMAC; Phage display
9.  Expression and identification of recombinant soluble single-chain variable fragment of monoclonal antibody MC3 
AIM: To generate soluble single chain variable fragments (ScFv) of monoclonal antibody MC3 recognizing colorectal and gastric carcinomas.
METHODS: mRNA was isolated from the hybridoma cell line producing MC3 and the DNAs encoding variable domains of heavy and light chains (VH and VL) of the antibody were amplified separately by RT-PCR and assembled into ScFv DNA with a linker DNA.The ScFv DNA was ligated into the phagemid vector pCANTAB5E and the ligated sample was transformed into E. coli TG1.The transformed cells were infected with M13KO7 helper phage to yield recombinant phages. After two rounds of panning with gastric carcinoma cell line AGS highly expressing MC3-binding antigen, the phage clones displaying ScFv fragments of the antibody were selected by ELISA. 4 phage clones showing strong signal in ELISA were used to infect E. coli HB2151 to express soluble ScFvs. The soluble ScFvs were identified by Dot blot and Western blot, and their antigen-binding activity was assayed by ELISA. The VH and VL DNAs of the ScFv DNA derived from phage clone 19 were sequenced.
RESULTS: The VH, VL and ScFv DNAs were about 340 bp, 320 bp and 750 bp respectively. After two rounds of panning to the recombinant phages, 18 antigen-positive phage clones were selected from 30 preselected phage clones by ELISA. All the soluble ScFvs derived from the 4 out of the 18 antigen-positive phage clones were about Mr32000 and concentrated in periplasmatic space under the given culture condition. The soluble ScFvs could bind the antigen, and they shared the same binding site with MC3. The sequences of the VH and VL DNAs of the MC3 ScFv showed that the variable antibody genes belonged to the IgG1 subgroup, κ-type.
CONCLUSION: The soluble ScFv of MC3 is successfully produced, which not only provides a possible novel targeting vehicle for in vivo and in vitro study on associated cancers, but also offers the anuibody a stable genetic source.
PMCID: PMC4658362  PMID: 11925603
10.  Production of a human single-chain variable fragment antibody against esophageal carcinoma 
AIM: To construct a phage display library of human single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies associated with esophageal cancer and to preliminarily screen a scFv antibody against esophageal cancer.
METHODS: Total RNA extracted from metastatic lymph nodes of esophageal cancer patients was used to construct a scFv gene library. Rescued by M13K07 helper phage, the scFv phage display library was constructed. esophageal cancer cell line Eca109 and normal human esophageal epithelial cell line (NHEEC) were used for panning and subtractive panning of the scFv phage display library to obtain positive phage clones. Soluble scFv was expressed in E. coli HB2151 which was transfected with the positive phage clone, then purified by affinity chromatography. Relative molecular mass of soluble scFv was estimated by Western blotting, its bioactivity was detected by cell ELISA assay. Sequence of scFv was determined using the method of dideoxynucleotide sequencing.
RESULTS: The size of scFv gene library was approximately 9 × 106 clones. After four rounds of panning with Eca109 and three rounds of subtractive panning with NHEEC cells, 25 positive phage clones were obtained. Soluble scFv was found to have a molecular mass of 31 ku and was able to bind to Eca109 cells, but not to HeLa and NHEEC cells. Variable heavy (VH) gene from one of the positive clones was shown to be derived from the γ chain subgroup IV of immunoglobulin, and variable light (VL) gene from the κ chain subgroup I of immunoglobulin.
CONCLUSION: A human scFv phage display library can be constructed from the metastatic lymph nodes of esophageal cancer patients. A whole human scFv against esophageal cancer shows some bioactivity.
PMCID: PMC4572180  PMID: 15309706
11.  An efficient method for variable region assembly in the construction of scFv phage display libraries using independent strand amplification 
mAbs  2012;4(4):542-550.
Phage display library technology is a common method to produce human antibodies. In this technique, the immunoglobulin variable regions are displayed in a bacteriophage in a way that each filamentous virus displays the product of a single antibody gene on its surface. From the collection of different phages, it is possible to isolate the virus that recognizes specific targets. The most common form in which to display antibody variable regions in the phage is the single chain variable fragment format (scFv), which requires assembly of the heavy and light immunoglobulin variable regions in a single gene.
In this work, we describe a simple and efficient method for the assembly of immunoglobulin heavy and light chain variable regions in a scFv format. This procedure involves a two-step reaction: (1) DNA amplification to produce the single strand form of the heavy or light chain gene required for the fusion; and (2) mixture of both single strand products followed by an assembly reaction to construct a complete scFv gene. Using this method, we produced 6-fold more scFv encoding DNA than the commonly used splicing by overlap extension PCR (SOE-PCR) approach. The scFv gene produced by this method also proved to be efficient in generating a diverse scFv phage display library. From this scFv library, we obtained phages that bound several non-related antigens, including recombinant proteins and rotavirus particles.
PMCID: PMC3499348  PMID: 22692130
SOE-PCR; independent strand amplification; phage display library; scFv assembly
12.  Preparation of human single chain Fv antibody against hepatitis C virus E2 protein and its identification in immunohistochemistry 
AIM: To screen human single chain Fv antibody (scFv) against hepatitis C virus E2 antigen and identify its application in immunohistochemistry.
METHODS: The phage antibody library was panned by HCV E2 antigen, which was coated in microtiter plate. After five rounds of biopanning, 56 phage clones were identified specific to HCV E2 antigen. The selected scFv clones were digested by Sfi I/Not I and DNA was sequenced. Then it was subcloned into the vector pCANTAB5E for expression as E-tagged soluble scFv. The liver tissue sections from normal person and patients with chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis C were immunostained with HCV E2 scFv antibody.
RESULTS: The data of scFv-E2 DNA digestion and DNA sequencing showed that the scFv gene is composed of 750 bp. ELISA and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that the human single chain Fv antibody against hepatitis C E2 antigen has a specific binding character with hepatitis virus E2 antigen and paraffin-embedded tissue, but did not react with liver tissues from healthy persons or patients with chronic hepatitis B.
CONCLUSION: We have successfully screened and identified HCV E2 scFv and the scFv could be used in the immunostaining of liver tissue sections from patients with chronic hepatitis C.
PMCID: PMC4656576  PMID: 12378631
13.  Antigenic Drift of the Pandemic 2009 A(H1N1) Influenza Virus in a Ferret Model 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(5):e1003354.
Surveillance data indicate that most circulating A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza viruses have remained antigenically similar since they emerged in humans in 2009. However, antigenic drift is likely to occur in the future in response to increasing population immunity induced by infection or vaccination. In this study, sequential passaging of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus by contact transmission through two independent series of suboptimally vaccinated ferrets resulted in selection of variant viruses with an amino acid substitution (N156K, H1 numbering without signal peptide; N159K, H3 numbering without signal peptide; N173K, H1 numbering from first methionine) in a known antigenic site of the viral HA. The N156K HA variant replicated and transmitted efficiently between naïve ferrets and outgrew wildtype virus in vivo in ferrets in the presence and absence of immune pressure. In vitro, in a range of cell culture systems, the N156K variant rapidly adapted, acquiring additional mutations in the viral HA that also potentially affected antigenic properties. The N156K escape mutant was antigenically distinct from wildtype virus as shown by binding of HA-specific antibodies. Glycan binding assays demonstrated the N156K escape mutant had altered receptor binding preferences compared to wildtype virus, which was supported by computational modeling predictions. The N156K substitution, and culture adaptations, have been detected in human A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses with N156K preferentially reported in sequences from original clinical samples rather than cultured isolates. This study demonstrates the ability of the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus to undergo rapid antigenic change to evade a low level vaccine response, while remaining fit in a ferret transmission model of immunization and infection. Furthermore, the potential changes in receptor binding properties that accompany antigenic changes highlight the importance of routine characterization of clinical samples in human A(H1N1)pdm09 influenza surveillance.
Author Summary
Infection with influenza virus leads to significant morbidity and mortality. Annual vaccination may prevent subsequent disease by inducing neutralizing antibodies to currently circulating strains in the human population. To escape this antibody response, influenza A viruses undergo continuous genetic variation as they replicate, enabling viruses with advantageous antigenic mutations to spread and cause disease in naïve or previously immune or vaccinated individuals. To date, the 2009 pandemic virus (A(H1N1)pdm09) has not undergone significant antigenic drift, with the result that the vaccine remains well-matched and should provide good protection to A(H1N1)pdm09 circulating viruses. In this study, we induced antigenic drift in an A(H1N1)pdm09 virus in the ferret model. A single amino acid mutation emerged in the dominant surface glycoprotein, hemagglutinin, which had a multifaceted effect, altering both antigenicity and virus receptor specificity. The mutant virus could not be isolated using routine cell culture methods without the virus acquiring additional amino acid changes, yet was fit in vivo. The implications for surveillance of circulating influenza virus are significant as current assays commonly used to assess vaccine mismatch, as well as to produce isolates for vaccine manufacture, are biased against identification of viruses containing only this mutation.
PMCID: PMC3649996  PMID: 23671418
14.  A simple vector system to improve performance and utilisation of recombinant antibodies 
BMC Biotechnology  2006;6:46.
Isolation of recombinant antibody fragments from antibody libraries is well established using technologies such as phage display. Phage display vectors are ideal for efficient display of antibody fragments on the surface of bacteriophage particles. However, they are often inefficient for expression of soluble antibody fragments, and sub-cloning of selected antibody populations into dedicated soluble antibody fragment expression vectors can enhance expression.
We have developed a simple vector system for expression, dimerisation and detection of recombinant antibody fragments in the form of single chain Fvs (scFvs). Expression is driven by the T7 RNA polymerase promoter in conjunction with the inducible lysogen strain BL21 (DE3). The system is compatible with a simple auto-induction culture system for scFv production. As an alternative to periplasmic expression, expression directly in the cytoplasm of a mutant strain with a more oxidising cytoplasmic environment (Origami 2™ (DE3)) was investigated and found to be inferior to periplasmic expression in BL21 (DE3) cells. The effect on yield and binding activity of fusing scFvs to the N terminus of maltose binding protein (a solubility enhancing partner), bacterial alkaline phosphatase (a naturally dimeric enzymatic reporter molecule), or the addition of a free C-terminal cysteine was determined. Fusion of scFvs to the N-terminus of maltose binding protein increased scFv yield but binding activity of the scFv was compromised. In contrast, fusion to the N-terminus of bacterial alkaline phosphatase led to an improved performance. Alkaline phosphatase provides a convenient tag allowing direct enzymatic detection of scFv fusions within crude extracts without the need for secondary reagents. Alkaline phosphatase also drives dimerisation of the scFv leading to an improvement in performance compared to monovalent constructs. This is illustrated by ELISA, western blot and immunohistochemistry.
Nine scFv expression vectors have been generated and tested. Three vectors showed utility for expression of functional scFv fragments. One vector, pSANG14-3F, produces scFv-alkaline phosphatase fusion molecules which offers a simple, convenient and sensitive way of determining the reactivity of recombinant antibody fragments in a variety of common assay systems.
PMCID: PMC1712229  PMID: 17156422
15.  Flow Cytometry-Based Methods for Assessing Soluble scFv Activities and Detecting Antigens in Solution 
Biotechnology and bioengineering  2010;105(5):973-981.
Novel methods are reported for evaluating and utilizing single chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies derived from yeast-display libraries. Yeast-display was used to select scFv specific to invariant surface glycoproteins (ISG) of Trypanosoma brucei. Alimiting step in the isolation of scFv from non-immune libraries is the conversion of highly active yeast-displayed scFv into soluble antibodies that can be used in standard immunoassays. Challenges include limited solubility or activity following secretion and purification of scFv. For this reason, few scFv derived from yeast-display platforms have moved into development and implementation as diagnostic reagents. To address this problem, assays were developed that employ both yeast-displayed and -secreted scFv as analytical reagents. The first is a competitive inhibition flow cytometry (CIFC) assay that detects secreted scFv by virtue of their ability to competitively inhibit the binding of biotinylated antigen to yeast-displayed scFv. The second is an epitope binning assay that uses secreted scFv to identify additional yeast-displayed scFv that bind non-overlapping or non-competing epitopes on an antigen. The epitope binning assay was used not only to identify sandwich assay pairs with yeast-displayed scFv, but also to identify active soluble scFv present in low concentration in a crude expression extract. Finally, a CIFC assay was developed that bypasses entirely the need for soluble scFv expression, by using yeast-displayed scFv to detect unlabeled antigen in samples. These methods will facilitate the continued development and practical implementation of scFv derived from yeast-display libraries.
PMCID: PMC2851250  PMID: 19953671
Trypanosoma; African trypanosomiasis; antibodies; scFv; yeast-display; S. cerevisiae; invariant surface glycoproteins; ISG; flow cytometry; yeast-display; competitive inhibition
16.  Identification of tumor associated single-chain Fv by panning and screening antibody phage library using tumor cells 
AIM: To study the feasibility of panning and screening phage-displaying recombinant single-chain variable fragment (ScFv) of anti-tumor monoclonal antibodies for fixed whole cells as the carriers of mAb-binding antigens.
METHODS: The recombinant phage displaying libraries for anti-colorectal tumor mAb MC3Ab, MC5Ab and anti-gastric tumor mAb MGD1 was constructed. Panning and screening were carried out by means of modified fixation of colorectal and gastric tumor cells expressed the mAb-binding antigens. Concordance of binding specificity to tumor cells between phage clones and parent antibodies was analyzed. The phage of positive clones was identified with competitive ELISA, and infected by E. coli HB2151 to express soluble ScFv.
RESULTS: The ratio of positive clones to MC3-ScF-MC5-ScFv and MGD1-ScFv were 60%, 24% and 30%. MC3-ScFv had Mr 32000 confirmed by Western blot. The specificity to antigen had no difference between 4 positive recombinant phage antibodies and MC3Ab.
CONCLUSION: The modified process of fixing whole tumor cells is efficient, convenient and feasible to pan and screen the phage-displaying ScFv of anti-tumor monoclonal antibodies.
PMCID: PMC4656309  PMID: 12174367
17.  Identification of a GTP-bound Rho specific scFv molecular sensor by phage display selection 
BMC Biotechnology  2008;8:34.
The Rho GTPases A, B and C proteins, members of the Rho family whose activity is regulated by GDP/GTP cycling, function in many cellular pathways controlling proliferation and have recently been implicated in tumorigenesis. Although overexpression of Rho GTPases has been correlated with tumorigenesis, only their GTP-bound forms are able to activate the signalling pathways implicated in tumorigenesis. Thus, the focus of much recent research has been to identify biological tools capable of quantifying the level of cellular GTP-bound Rho, or determining the subcellular location of activation. However useful, these tools used to study the mechanism of Rho activation still have limitations. The aim of the present work was to employ phage display to identify a conformationally-specific single chain fragment variable (scFv) that recognizes the active, GTP-bound, form of Rho GTPases and is able to discriminate it from the inactive, GDP-bound, Rho in endogenous settings.
After five rounds of phage selection using a constitutively activated mutant of RhoB (RhoBQ63L), three scFvs (A8, C1 and D11) were selected for subsequent analysis. Further biochemical characterization was pursued for the single clone, C1, exhibiting an scFv structure. C1 was selective for the GTP-bound form of RhoA, RhoB, as well as RhoC, and failed to recognize GTP-loaded Rac1 or Cdc42, two other members of the Rho family. To enhance its production, soluble C1 was expressed in fusion with the N-terminal domain of phage protein pIII (scFv C1-N1N2), it appeared specifically associated with GTP-loaded recombinant RhoA and RhoB via immunoprecipitation, and endogenous activated Rho in HeLa cells as determined by immunofluorescence.
We identified an antibody, C1-N1N2, specific for the GTP-bound form of RhoB from a phage library, and confirmed its specificity towards GTP-bound RhoA and RhoC, as well as RhoB. The success of C1-N1N2 in discriminating activated Rho in immunofluorescence studies implies that this new tool, in collaboration with currently used RhoA and B antibodies, has the potential to analyze Rho activation in cell function and tumor development.
PMCID: PMC2323369  PMID: 18377644
18.  Development and identification of fully human scFv-Fcs against Staphylococcus aureus 
BMC Immunology  2016;17:8.
Staphylococcus aureus, a gram-positive pathogen, causes many human infections. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is the most common drug-resistance bacteria. Nearly all MRSA bacteria are resistant to several drugs. Specific antibodies are the main components of the host’s humoral immunity, and play a significant role in the process of the host’s resistance to bacterial infection.
A single-chain variable fragment (scFv) library was constructed using mRNA from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of S. aureus infected volunteers. After the scFv library DNA was transformed into Escherichia coli TG1, ~1.7 × 107 independent clones with full-length scFv inserts. The scFv library was screened by phage display for three rounds using S. aureus as an antigen. The single clones were chosen at random and the scFvs were expressed for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assessment. Approximately 50 % of the clones were positive with good binding activity to S. aureus. To improve the stability of scFvs, scFv-fragment crystallizable regions (-Fcs) were constructed and expressed in E. coli DH5α. The expressed scFv-Fcs were purified and identified by western blot. These antibodies were further characterized and analyzed for bioactivity. The results showed that the expression level and folding of scFv-Fcs induced at 25 °C without isopropyl β-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) were higher than that induced at 32 °C with 1.0 mmol/L IPTG. scFv-Fcs had good bioactivity and could specifically bind with S. aureus.
scFv-Fcs against S. aureus were successfully constructed and are good candidates for the development of future adjunctive therapy for severe S. aureus infections.
PMCID: PMC4850644  PMID: 27129873
Staphylococcus aureus; Single-chain variable fragment; Fragment crystallizable regions; scFv-Fc; Phage display
19.  Generation of a Novel Bacteriophage Library Displaying scFv Antibody Fragments from the Natural Buffalo Host to Identify Antigens from Adult Schistosoma japonicum for Diagnostic Development 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2015;9(12):e0004280.
The development of effective diagnostic tools will be essential in the continuing fight to reduce schistosome infection; however, the diagnostic tests available to date are generally laborious and difficult to implement in current parasite control strategies. We generated a series of single-chain antibody Fv domain (scFv) phage display libraries from the portal lymph node of field exposed water buffaloes, Bubalus bubalis, 11–12 days post challenge with Schistosoma japonicum cercariae. The selected scFv-phages showed clear enrichment towards adult schistosomes and excretory-secretory (ES) proteins by immunofluorescence, ELISA and western blot analysis. The enriched libraries were used to probe a schistosome specific protein microarray resulting in the recognition of a number of proteins, five of which were specific to schistosomes, with RNA expression predominantly in the adult life-stage based on interrogation of schistosome expressed sequence tags (EST). As the libraries were enriched by panning against ES products, these antigens may be excreted or secreted into the host vasculature and hence may make good targets for a diagnostic assay. Further selection of the scFv library against infected mouse sera identified five soluble scFv clones that could selectively recognise soluble whole adult preparations (SWAP) relative to an irrelevant protein control (ovalbumin). Furthermore, two of the identified scFv clones also selectively recognised SWAP proteins when spiked into naïve mouse sera. These host B-cell derived scFvs that specifically bind to schistosome protein preparations will be valuable reagents for further development of a cost effective point-of-care diagnostic test.
Author Summary
Mass drug administration using the highly effective drug praziquantel (PZQ) is currently the method of choice to combat schistosomiasis. However, this treatment regime has limitations; in particular, it does not prevent re-infection and sporadic parasite resistance against PZQ is a continuing threat. The path to the successful control of schistosomiasis is highly challenging and must consider, not only the complex nature of the host-parasite interaction, but also the capacity to assess disease burden and parasite re-emergence in communities where successful control has been achieved. Furthermore, control programs must be economically sustainable in endemic countries and despite significant recent advancements the elimination of schistosomiasis may still be some time away. Accordingly, there is a definitive need to formulate innovative approaches for the development of improved diagnostic tools to accurately assess the disease burden associated with active schistosome infections. Here we describe the usefulness of a phage display library to mature antibody fragments derived from lymph node RNA of the natural buffalo host of the Asian schistosome, Schistosoma japonicum, following an experimental infection. These mature antibody fragments were able to bind native parasite proteins and could thus be used to develop a low cost and accurate point-of-care diagnostic test.
PMCID: PMC4686158  PMID: 26684756
20.  Toward Low-Cost Affinity Reagents: Lyophilized Yeast-scFv Probes Specific for Pathogen Antigens 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32042.
The generation of affinity reagents, usually monoclonal antibodies, remains a critical bottleneck in biomedical research and diagnostic test development. Recombinant antibody-like proteins such as scFv have yet to replace traditional monoclonal antibodies in antigen detection applications, in large part because of poor performance of scFv in solution. To address this limitation, we have developed assays that use whole yeast cells expressing scFv on their surfaces (yeast-scFv) in place of soluble purified scFv or traditional monoclonal antibodies. In this study, a nonimmune library of human scFv displayed on the surfaces of yeast cells was screened for clones that bind to recombinant cyst proteins of Entamoeba histolytica, an enteric pathogen of humans. Selected yeast-scFv clones were stabilized by lyophilization and used in detection assay formats in which the yeast-scFv served as solid support-bound monoclonal antibodies. Specific binding of antigen to the yeast-scFv was detected by staining with rabbit polyclonal antibodies. In flow cytometry-based assays, lyophilized yeast-scFv reagents retained full binding activity and specificity for their cognate antigens after 4 weeks of storage at room temperature in the absence of desiccants or stabilizers. Because flow cytometry is not available to all potential assay users, an immunofluorescence assay was also developed that detects antigen with similar sensitivity and specificity. Antigen-specific whole-cell yeast-scFv reagents can be selected from nonimmune libraries in 2–3 weeks, produced in vast quantities, and packaged in lyophilized form for extended shelf life. Lyophilized yeast-scFv show promise as low cost, renewable alternatives to monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis and research.
PMCID: PMC3282784  PMID: 22363793
21.  Interference of HCV replication by cell penetrable human monoclonal scFv specific to NS5B polymerase 
mAbs  2014;6(5):1327-1339.
A new class of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-targeted therapeutics that is safe, broadly effective and can cope with virus mutations is needed. The HCV's NS5B is highly conserved and different from human protein, and thus it is an attractive target for anti-HCV therapeutics development. In this study, NS5B bound-phage clones selected from a human single chain variable antibody fragment (scFv) phage display library were used to transform appropriate E. coli bacteria. Two scFv inhibiting HCV polymerase activity were selected. The scFvs were linked to a cell penetrating peptide to make cell penetrable scFvs. The transbodies reduced the HCV RNA and infectious virus particles released into the culture medium and inside hepatic cells transfected with a heterologous HCV replicon. They also rescued the innate immune response of the transfected cells. Phage mimotope search and homology modeling/molecular docking revealed the NS5B subdomains and residues bound by the scFvs. The scFv mimotopes matched residues of the NS5B, which are important for nucleolin binding during HCV replication, as well as residues that interconnect the fingers and thumb domains for forming a polymerase active groove. Both scFvs docked on several residues at the thumb armadillo-like fold that could be the polymerase interactive sites of other viral/host proteins for the formation of the replication complex and replication initiation. In conclusion, human transbodies that inhibited HCV RdRp activity and HCV replication and restored the host innate immune response were produced. They are potentially future interferon-free anti-HCV candidates, particularly in combination with other cognates that are specific to NS5B epitopes and other HCV enzymes.
PMCID: PMC4622650  PMID: 25517317
Hepatitis C; hepatitis C virus; NS5B polymerase; human single-chain variable antibody fragments (human scFv); phage display
22.  Selection of scFv Antibody Fragments Binding to Human Blood versus Lymphatic Endothelial Surface Antigens by Direct Cell Phage Display 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0127169.
The identification of marker molecules specific for blood and lymphatic endothelium may provide new diagnostic tools and identify new targets for therapy of immune, microvascular and cancerous diseases. Here, we used a phage display library expressing human randomized single-chain Fv (scFv) antibodies for direct panning against live cultures of blood (BECs) and lymphatic (LECs) endothelial cells in solution. After six panning rounds, out of 944 sequenced antibody clones, we retrieved 166 unique/diverse scFv fragments, as indicated by the V-region sequences. Specificities of these phage clone antibodies for respective compartments were individually tested by direct cell ELISA, indicating that mainly pan-endothelial cell (EC) binders had been selected, but also revealing a subset of BEC-specific scFv antibodies. The specific staining pattern was recapitulated by twelve phage-independently expressed scFv antibodies. Binding capacity to BECs and LECs and differential staining of BEC versus LEC by a subset of eight scFv antibodies was confirmed by immunofluorescence staining. As one antigen, CD146 was identified by immunoprecipitation with phage-independent scFv fragment. This antibody, B6-11, specifically bound to recombinant CD146, and to native CD146 expressed by BECs, melanoma cells and blood vessels. Further, binding capacity of B6-11 to CD146 was fully retained after fusion to a mouse Fc portion, which enabled eukaryotic cell expression. Beyond visualization and diagnosis, this antibody might be used as a functional tool. Overall, our approach provided a method to select antibodies specific for endothelial surface determinants in their native configuration. We successfully selected antibodies that bind to antigens expressed on the human endothelial cell surfaces in situ, showing that BECs and LECs share a majority of surface antigens, which is complemented by cell-type specific, unique markers.
PMCID: PMC4439027  PMID: 25993332
23.  Identifying Blood-Brain Barrier Selective Single-Chain Antibody Fragments 
Biotechnology journal  2014;9(5):664-674.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) represents an obstacle in targeting and delivering therapeutics to the central nervous system. In order to discover new BBB targeting molecules, we panned a phage-displayed nonimmune human single-chain antibody fragment (scFv) library against a representative BBB model comprised of hydrocortisone-treated primary rat brain endothelial cells. Parallel screens were performed with or without pre-subtraction against primary rat heart and lung endothelial cells in an effort to identify antibodies that may have binding selectivity towards brain endothelial cells. After three rounds of screening, three unique scFvs, scFv15, scFv38, and scFv29, were identified that maintained binding to primary rat brain endothelial cells, both in phage and soluble scFv format. While scFv29 and to a lesser extent, scFv15, exhibited some brain endothelial cell specificity in tissue culture, scFv29 did not appear to bind a BBB antigen in vivo. In contrast, both scFv15 and scFv38 were capable of immunolabeling rat brain vessels in vivo and displayed brain vascular selectivity with respect to all peripheral organs tested other than heart. Taken together, scFv15 and scFv38 represent two new antibodies that are capable of binding antigens that are expressed at the BBB in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4073886  PMID: 24644233
blood-brain barrier; phage display; brain targeting; combinatorial screening; antibody
24.  Generation and Characterization of a scFv Antibody Against T3SS Needle of Vibrio parahaemolyticus 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2013;54(2):143-150.
Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a halophilic gram-negative bacterium, is a food-borne pathogen that largely inhabits marine and estuarine environments, and poses a serious threat to human and animal health all over the world. The hollow “needle” channel, a specific assemble of T3SS which exists in most of gram-negative bacteria, plays a key role in the transition of virulence effectors to host cells. In this study, needle protein VP1694 was successfully expressed and purified, and the fusion protein Trx-VP1694 was used to immunize Balb/c mice. Subsequently, a phage single-chain fragment variable antibody (scFv) library was constructed, and a specific scFv against VP1694 named scFv-FA7 was screened by phage display panning. To further identify the characters of scFv, the soluble expression vector pACYC-scFv-skp was constructed and the soluble scFv was purified by Ni2+ affinity chromatography. ELISA analysis showed that the scFv-FA7 was specific to VP1694 antigen, and its affinity constant was 1.07 × 108 L/mol. These results offer a molecular basis to prevent and cure diseases by scFv, and also provide a new strategy for further research on virulence mechanism of T3SS in V. parahaemolyticus by scFv.
PMCID: PMC4188505  PMID: 25320414
Vibrio parahaemolyticus; T3SS; Needle; scFv; Biopanning
25.  Radiosensitization and growth inhibition of cancer cells mediated by an scFv antibody gene against DNA-PKcs in vitro and in vivo 
Overexpression of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) is commonly occurred in cancers and causes radioresistance and poor prognosis. In present study, the single-chain variable antibody fragments (scFv) targeting DNA-PKcs was developed for the application of radiosensitization in vitro and in vivo. A humanized semisynthetic scFv library and the phage-display antibodies technology were employed to screen DNA-PKcs scFv antibody.
DNA-PKcs epitopes were predicted and cloned. A humanized semisynthetic scFv library and the phage-display antibodies technology were employed to screen DNA-PKcs scFv antibody. DNA damage repair was analyzed by comet assay and immunofluorescence detection of γH2AX foci. The radiosensitization in vivo was determined on Balb/c athymic mice transplanted tumours of HeLa cells.
Four epitopes of DNA-PKcs have been predicted and expressed as the antigens, and a specific human anti-DNA-PKcs scFv antibody gene, anti-DPK3-scFv, was obtained by screening the phage antibody library using the DNA-PKcs peptide DPK3. The specificity of anti-DPK3-scFv was verified, in vitro. Transfection of HeLa cells with the anti-DPK3-scFv gene resulted in an increased sensitivity to IR, decreased repair capability of DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) detected by comet assay and immunofluorescence detection of γH2AX foci. Moreover, the kinase activity of DNA-PKcs was inhibited by anti-DPK3-scFv, which was displayed by the decreased phosphorylation levels of its target Akt/S473 and the autophosphorylation of DNA-PKcs on S2056 induced by radiation. Measurement of the growth and apoptosis rates showed that anti-DPK3-scFv enhanced the sensitivity of tumours transplanted in Balb/c athymic mice to radiation therapy.
The antiproliferation and radiosensitizing effects of anti-DPK3-scFv via targeting DNA-PKcs make it very appealing for the development as a novel biological radiosensitizer for cancer therapeutic potential.
PMCID: PMC2927608  PMID: 20704701

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