An albumin-binding domain as a scaffold for bispecific affinity proteins
Sammanfattning: Protein engineering and in vitro selection systems are powerful methods to generate binding proteins. In nature, antibodies are the primary affinity proteins and their usefulness has led to a widespread use both in basic and applied research. By means of combinatorial protein engineering and protein library technology, smaller antibody fragments or alternative non-immunoglobulin protein scaffolds can be engineered for various functions based on molecular recognition. In this thesis, a 46 amino acid small albumin-binding domain derived from streptococcal protein G was evaluated as a scaffold for the generation of affinity proteins. Using protein engineering, the albumin binding has been complemented with a new binding interface localized to the opposite surface of this three-helical bundle domain. By using in vitro selection from a combinatorial library, bispecific protein domains with ability to recognize several different target proteins were generated. In paper I, a bispecific albumin-binding domain was selected by phage display and utilized as a purification tag for highly efficient affinity purification of fusion proteins. The results in paper II show how protein engineering, in vitro display and multi-parameter fluorescence-activated cell sorting can be used to accomplish the challenging task of incorporating two high affinity binding-sites, for albumin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, into this new bispecific protein scaffold. Moreover, the native ability of this domain to bind serum albumin provides a useful characteristic that can be used to extend the plasma half-lives of proteins fused to it or potentially of the domain itself. When combined with a second targeting ability, a new molecular format with potential use in therapeutic applications is provided. The engineered binding proteins generated against the epidermal growth factor receptors 2 and 3 in papers III and IV are aimed in this direction. Over-expression of these receptors is associated with the development and progression of various cancers, and both are well-validated targets for therapy. Small bispecific binding proteins based on the albumin-binding domain could potentially contribute to this field. The new alternative protein scaffold described in this thesis is one of the smallest structured affinity proteins reported. The bispecific nature, with an inherent ability of the same domain to bind to serum albumin, is unique for this scaffold. These non-immunoglobulin binding proteins may provide several advantages as compared to antibodies in several applications, particularly when a small size and an extended half-life are of key importance.
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