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1.  Modification of the loops in the ligand-binding site turns avidin into a steroid-binding protein 
BMC Biotechnology  2011;11:64.
Engineered proteins, with non-immunoglobulin scaffolds, have become an important alternative to antibodies in many biotechnical and therapeutic applications. When compared to antibodies, tailored proteins may provide advantageous properties such as a smaller size or a more stable structure.
Avidin is a widely used protein in biomedicine and biotechnology. To tailor the binding properties of avidin, we have designed a sequence-randomized avidin library with mutagenesis focused at the loop area of the binding site. Selection from the generated library led to the isolation of a steroid-binding avidin mutant (sbAvd-1) showing micromolar affinity towards testosterone (Kd ~ 9 μM). Furthermore, a gene library based on the sbAvd-1 gene was created by randomizing the loop area between β-strands 3 and 4. Phage display selection from this library led to the isolation of a steroid-binding protein with significantly decreased biotin binding affinity compared to sbAvd-1. Importantly, differential scanning calorimetry and analytical gel-filtration revealed that the high stability and the tetrameric structure were preserved in these engineered avidins.
The high stability and structural properties of avidin make it an attractive molecule for the engineering of novel receptors. This methodology may allow the use of avidin as a universal scaffold in the development of novel receptors for small molecules.
PMCID: PMC3201017  PMID: 21658230
protein engineering; avidin scaffold; phage display; steroid hormone; testosterone
2.  Internalization of novel non-viral vector TAT-streptavidin into human cells 
BMC Biotechnology  2007;7:1.
The cell-penetrating peptide derived from the Human immunodeficiency virus-1 transactivator protein Tat possesses the capacity to promote the effective uptake of various cargo molecules across the plasma membrane in vitro and in vivo. The objective of this study was to characterize the uptake and delivery mechanisms of a novel streptavidin fusion construct, TAT47–57-streptavidin (TAT-SA, 60 kD). SA represents a potentially useful TAT-fusion partner due to its ability to perform as a versatile intracellular delivery vector for a wide array of biotinylated molecules or cargoes.
By confocal and immunoelectron microscopy the majority of internalized TAT-SA was shown to accumulate in perinuclear vesicles in both cancer and non-cancer cell lines. The uptake studies in living cells with various fluorescent endocytic markers and inhibiting agents suggested that TAT-SA is internalized into cells efficiently, using both clathrin-mediated endocytosis and lipid-raft-mediated macropinocytosis. When endosomal release of TAT-SA was enhanced through the incorporation of a biotinylated, pH-responsive polymer poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA), nuclear localization of TAT-SA and TAT-SA bound to biotin was markedly improved. Additionally, no significant cytotoxicity was detected in the TAT-SA constructs.
This study demonstrates that TAT-SA-PPAA is a potential non-viral vector to be utilized in protein therapeutics to deliver biotinylated molecules both into cytoplasm and nucleus of human cells.
PMCID: PMC1779780  PMID: 17199888
3.  Avidin related protein 2 shows unique structural and functional features among the avidin protein family 
BMC Biotechnology  2005;5:28.
The chicken avidin gene family consists of avidin and several avidin related genes (AVRs). Of these gene products, avidin is the best characterized and is known for its extremely high affinity for D-biotin, a property that is utilized in numerous modern life science applications. Recently, the AVR genes have been expressed as recombinant proteins, which have shown different biotin-binding properties as compared to avidin.
In the present study, we have employed multiple biochemical methods to better understand the structure-function relationship of AVR proteins focusing on AVR2. Firstly, we have solved the high-resolution crystal structure of AVR2 in complex with a bound ligand, D-biotin. The AVR2 structure reveals an overall fold similar to the previously determined structures of avidin and AVR4. Major differences are seen, especially at the 1–3 subunit interface, which is stabilized mainly by polar interactions in the case of AVR2 but by hydrophobic interactions in the case of AVR4 and avidin, and in the vicinity of the biotin binding pocket. Secondly, mutagenesis, competitive dissociation analysis and differential scanning calorimetry were used to compare and study the biotin-binding properties as well as the thermal stability of AVRs and avidin. These analyses pinpointed the importance of residue 109 for biotin binding and stability of AVRs. The I109K mutation increased the biotin-binding affinity of AVR2, whereas the K109I mutation decreased the biotin-binding affinity of AVR4. Furthermore, the thermal stability of AVR2(I109K) increased in comparison to the wild-type protein and the K109I mutation led to a decrease in the thermal stability of AVR4.
Altogether, this study broadens our understanding of the structural features determining the ligand-binding affinities and stability as well as the molecular evolution within the protein family. This novel information can be applied to further develop and improve the tools already widely used in avidin-biotin technology.
PMCID: PMC1282572  PMID: 16212654

Results 1-3 (3)