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Optimization of Photoactive Protein Z for Fast and Efficient Site-Specific Conjugation of Native IgG

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 04:33 by James Z. Hui, Andrew Tsourkas
Antibody conjugates have been used in a variety of applications from immunoassays to drug conjugates. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that in order to maximize an antibody’s antigen binding ability and to produce homogeneous antibody-conjugates, the conjugated molecule should be attached onto IgG site-specifically. We previously developed a facile method for the site-specific modification of full length, native IgGs by engineering a recombinant Protein Z that forms a covalent link to the Fc domain of IgG upon exposure to long wavelength UV light. To further improve the efficiency of Protein Z production and IgG conjugation, we constructed a panel of 13 different Protein Z variants with the UV-active amino acid benzoylphenylalanine (BPA) in different locations. By using this panel of Protein Z to cross-link a range of IgGs from different hosts, including human, mouse, and rat, we discovered two previously unknown Protein Z variants, L17BPA and K35BPA, that are capable of cross-linking many commonly used IgG isotypes with efficiencies ranging from 60% to 95% after only 1 h of UV exposure. When compared to existing site-specific methods, which often require cloning or enzymatic reactions, the Protein Z-based method described here, utilizing the L17BPA, K35BPA, and the previously described Q32BPA variants, represents a vastly more accessible and efficient approach that is compatible with nearly all native IgGs, thus making site-specific conjugation more accessible to the general research community.