single domain antibodies

When Great is not Good Enough—VHH Antibodies Engineered for 10 Fold Affinity Increase

Single Domain antibodies (VHH fragments, nanobodies, or as we call them, nAbs) have been generated by injecting llamas with ligand-bound GPCR for the purpose of obtaining crystals of active-state structures. Such structural information could be critical in understanding drug functions and screening for new drugs. The unique ability of VHH fragments to fit into protein-protein complex crevices and hold proteins together was demonstrated by two Nature publications from Brian Kobilka’s group at Stanford ([1, 2], also see Allele Newsletter of Sep 4th, 2013). The nano antibody used in those studies, Nb80, showed affinity towards only the active state of the target GPCR.

However, even with an antibody as great as Nb80, the authors were only able to co-crystal GPCR beta2-adrenoceptor (b2AR) with high affinity agonists, not its natural agonists such as adrenaline. In yet another Nature paper published just now, the Kobilka lab showed that Nb80 could be further improved by 10 times in affinity, through in vitro evolution [3]. They presented Nb80 on the surface of yeast using an existing yeast display system, then applied standard limited mutagenesis and magnetic separation technologies for screening. After about 5 rounds of selection, a new version of VHH Nb6B9 was isolated that bound to ligand-loaded GPCR with a kD of 6.4 nM. For the first time, a co-crystal of b2AR-adrenoline was made.

Rasmussen et al. Nature, 2011 Structure of a nanobody-stabilized active state of the b2 adrenoceptor
Rasmussen et al. Nature, 2011 Crystal structure of the b2 adrenergic receptor–Gs protein complex
Ring et al. Nature, 2013 Adrenaline-activated structure of b2-adrenoceptor stabilized by an engineered nanobody

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Updated Publication List Using GFP-Trap Related Products


Courtesey: list prepared by ChromoTek

Kastner, P. M., Schleicher, M., et al. (2011). The NDR Family Kinase NdrA of Dictyostelium Localizes to the Centrosome and Is Required for Efficient Phagocytosis. Traffic. 12: 301-312.

Guizetti, J., Schermelleh, L., et al. (2011). Cortical Constriction During Abscission Involves Helices of ESCRT-III-Dependent Filaments. Science.

Muhlen, S., Ruchaud-Sparagano, M. H., et al. (2011). Proteasome-independent Degradation of Canonical NF{kappa}B Complex Components by the NleC Protein of Pathogenic Escherichia coli. J Biol Chem. 286: 5100-5107.

Speck, J., Arndt, K. M., et al. (2011). Efficient phage display of intracellularly folded proteins mediated by the TAT pathway. Protein Eng Des Sel.

Heinrich, C., Gascon, S., et al. (2011). Generation of subtype-specific neurons from postnatal astroglia of the mouse cerebral cortex. Nat Protoc. 6: 214-228.

Qin, W., Leonhardt, H., et al. (2011). Usp7 and Uhrf1 control ubiquitination and stability of the maintenance DNA methyltransferase Dnmt1. J Cell Biochem. 112: 439-444.

Shen, H., Ferguson, S. M., et al. (2011). Constitutive activated Cdc42-associated kinase (Ack) phosphorylation at arrested endocytic clathrin-coated pits of cells that lack dynamin. Mol Biol Cell. 22: 493-502.

Wilkinson, K. A. and Henley, J. M. (2011). Analysis of metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 as a potential substrate for SUMOylation. Neurosci Lett.

Reininger, L., Wilkes, J. M., et al. (2011). An essential Aurora-related kinase transiently associates with spindle pole bodies during Plasmodium falciparum erythrocytic schizogony. Mol Microbiol. 79: 205-221.

Bubeck, D., Reijns, M. A., et al. (2011). PCNA directs type 2 RNase H activity on DNA replication and repair substrates. Nucleic Acids Res.

Dissanayake, K., Toth, R., et al. (2011). ERK/p90(RSK)/14-3-3 signalling has an impact on expression of PEA3 Ets transcription factors via the transcriptional repressor capicua. Biochem J. 433: 515-525.

Kuipers, M. A., Stasevich, T. J., et al. (2011). Highly stable loading of Mcm proteins onto chromatin in living cells requires replication to unload. J Cell Biol. 192: 29-41.

Frauer, C., Rottach, A., et al. (2011). Different Binding Properties and Function of CXXC Zinc Finger Domains in Dnmt1 and Tet1. PLoS One. 6: e16627.


Paris, L. L., Hu, J., et al. (2010). Regulation of Syk by phosphorylation on serine in the linker insert. J Biol Chem. 285: 39844-39854.

Korzeniowski, M. K., Manjarres, I. M., et al. (2010). Activation of STIM1-Orai1 involves an intramolecular switching mechanism. Sci Signal. 3: ra82.

Chamousset, D., De Wever, V., et al. (2010). RRP1B Targets PP1 to Mammalian Cell Nucleoli and is Associated with Pre-60S Ribosomal Subunits. Mol Biol Cell.

Thorslund, T., McIlwraith, M. J., et al. (2010). The breast cancer tumor suppressor BRCA2 promotes the specific targeting of RAD51 to single-stranded DNA. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 17: 1263-1265.

Erdel, F., Schubert, T., et al. (2010). Human ISWI chromatin-remodeling complexes sample nucleosomes via transient binding reactions and become immobilized at active sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.

Geoffroy, M. C., Jaffray, E. G., et al. (2010). Arsenic-induced, SUMO-dependent Recruitment of RNF4 into PML Nuclear Bodies. Mol Biol Cell. (PudMed)

Boulon, S., Pradet-Balade, B., et al. (2010). HSP90 and its R2TP/Prefoldin-like cochaperone are involved in the cytoplasmic assembly of RNA polymerase II. Mol Cell. 39: 912-924.

Schmitz, K. M., Mayer, C., et al. (2010). Interaction of noncoding RNA with the rDNA promoter mediates recruitment of DNMT3b and silencing of rRNA genes. Genes Dev. 24: 2264-2269.

Bakondi, B. and Spees, J. L. (2010). Human CD133-derived bone marrow stromal cells establish ectopic hematopoietic microenvironments in immunodeficient mice. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 400: 212-218.

Vermeulen, M., Eberl, H. C., et al. (2010). Quantitative interaction proteomics and genome-wide profiling of epigenetic histone marks and their readers. Cell. 142: 967-980.

Pozo-Guisado, E., Campbell, D. G., et al. (2010). Phosphorylation of STIM1 at ERK1/2 target sites modulates store-operated calcium entry. J Cell Sci. 123: 3084-3093.

Kaidi, A., Weinert, B. T., et al. (2010). Human SIRT6 promotes DNA end resection through CtIP deacetylation. Science. 329: 1348-1353.

Dzamko N., et al. (2010). Inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity leads to dephosphorylation of Ser910/Ser935, disruption of 14-3-3 binding and altered cytoplasmic localization. Biochem J 430: 405-413.

Nichols R. J., et al. (2010). 14-3-3 binding to LRRK2 is disrupted by multiple Parkinson’s disease-associated mutations and regulates cytoplasmic localization. Biochem J 430: 393-404.

Polo S. E., et al. (2010). Regulation of DNA-damage responses and cell-cycle progression by the chromatin remodelling factor CHD4. EMBO J.

Babiano R., et al. (2010). Ribosomal protein L35 is required for 27SB pre-rRNA processing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nucleic Acids Res 38: 5177-5192.

Loiseau P., et al. (2010). Drosophila PAT1 is required for Kinesin-1 to transport cargo and to maximize its motility. Development 137: 2763-2772.

Dubin, M., Fuchs, J., et al. (2010). Dynamics of a novel centromeric histone variant CenH3 reveals the evolutionary ancestral timing of centromere biogenesis. Nucleic Acids Res.

Pabis, M., Neufeld, N., et al. (2010). Binding properties and dynamic localization of an alternative isoform of the cap-binding complex subunit CBP20. Nucleus. 1: 412-421.

Van Dessel N., et al. (2010). The phosphatase interactor NIPP1 regulates the occupancy of the histone methyltransferase EZH2 at Polycomb targets. Nucleic Acids Res.

Rass U., et al. (2010). Mechanism of Holliday junction resolution by the human GEN1 protein. Genes Dev 24: 1559-1569.

MacKay C., et al. (2010). Identification of KIAA1018/FAN1, a DNA repair nuclease recruited to DNA damage by monoubiquitinated FANCD2. Cell 142: 65-76.

Ommen G., et al. (2010). The co-chaperone SGT of Leishmania donovani is essential for the parasite’s viability. Cell Stress Chaperones 15: 443-455.

Fulcher A. J., et al. (2010). Binding of p110 retinoblastoma protein inhibits nuclear import of simian virus SV40 large tumor antigen. J Biol Chem 285: 17744-17753.

Taniue K., et al. (2010). Sunspot, a link between Wingless signaling and endoreplication in Drosophila. Development 137: 1755-1764.

Kovanich, D., van der Heyden, M. A., et al. (2010). Sphingosine kinase interacting protein is an A-kinase anchoring protein specific for type I cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Chembiochem. 11: 963-971.

Boulon S., et al. (2010). Establishment of a protein frequency library and its application in the reliable identification of specific protein interaction partners. Mol Cell Proteomics 9: 861-879.

Slabicki M., et al. (2010). A genome-scale DNA repair RNAi screen identifies SPG48 as a novel gene associated with hereditary spastic paraplegia. PLoS Biol 8: e1000408.

Laxman, S., Sutter, B. M., et al. (2010). Behavior of a metabolic cycling population at the single cell level as visualized by fluorescent gene expression reporters. PLoS One. 5: e12595.

Bergbauer, M., Kalla, M., et al. (2010). CpG-methylation regulates a class of Epstein-Barr virus promoters. PLoS Pathog. 6.

Kalla M., et al. (2010). AP-1 homolog BZLF1 of Epstein-Barr virus has two essential functions dependent on the epigenetic state of the viral genome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107: 850-855.

Bellanger S., et al. (2010). The human papillomavirus type 18 E2 protein is a cell cycle-dependent target of the SCFSkp2 ubiquitin ligase. J Virol 84: 437-444.

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BioTechniques Publishes Article on Single Domain Antibodies

Many blogs start by asking “Did you know…” to intrigue you to read along. So here it goes:

Did you know that there are more than 300,000 antibodies that are commercially available? And yes, many antibody companies are still generating more antibodies at ever faster pace and in a more systematic way. There are companies that plan to make peptide or short protein fragments for making antibodies against all human proteins or subproteome, others develop antibodies particularly suitable for demanding assays such as ChIP-CHIP. Government activities such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s Clinical Proteomic Technologies Initiative (CPTI) and the Road Map program under the NIH Director’s Office also set goals of producing comprehensive sets of widely usable, renewable, affinity reagents for clinical cancer samples or the human proteome. Apparently people do not think the 300,000 available antibodies are sufficient for what they do.

Did you know that conventional antibodies commonly used as reagents are ~150kDa in molecular weight and can hardly be used inside live cells? Ulrich Rothbauer, professor in the department of biology at Ludwig Maximilians University, who is working with colleagues to develop tools to study cellular processes in living cells. “These antibodies have to assemble four different chains, two heavy and two light, and they’re assembled by disulfide bonds that cannot be correctly formed in the reducing environment of the cytoplasm. You cannot express such a huge complex molecule in living cells. You can [introduce] them by microinjection, for example, but it’s not applicable for high-throughput cell imaging.” [1] Antibody fragments such as scFv, Fab, and similar derivatives have been developed over the years to certain level of success, but not as widely accepted or practically amenable to replacing conventional antibodies.

Did you know that camel, llama, and shark naturally produce single heavy chain antibodies that can function as 13-16kDa fragments (yes if you have read previous Allele Blogs They can easily be produced in bacteria, used directly inside live cells via transgene, fused to other proteins as a fusion tag, linked to DNA oligos as a detection module, or immobilized on beads for pull down or co-IP. Currently, these antibodies need to be selected by display after obtaining immunized antibody libraries. There is generally no commercial service for creating custom camelid antibodies at this time due to patent and other issues. Existing products are available for jelly fish GFP and DsRed derived RFP fusions. Publications using such a limited number of camelid antibodies have been amazing so far—dozens in top journals within the last few months and after only a short period of time since product launch.

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Original BioTechniques Article

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