The Contorsbody, an antibody format for agonism: design, structure, and function

The careful design of the antibody architecture is becoming more and more important, especially when the purpose is agonism. We present the design of a novel antibody format that is able to promote receptor dimerization and induce signal transduction resulting in cell proliferation. Mono-specific bivalent Y-shape IgGs made of two light chains and two heavy chains are engineered into single chain dimers of two modified heavy chains, resulting in the fixation of the two Fab fragments along the Fc dimerizing moiety. By this, an antagonist of the Her-receptor family, Trastuzumab, is re-formatted into an agonist by simply incorporating the original binding motif into a different geometrically and sterically constrained conformation. This novel format, named Contorsbody, retains antigen binding properties of the parental IgGs and can be produced by standard technologies established for recombinant IgGs. Structural analyses using molecular dynamics and electron microscopy are described to guide the initial design and to confirm the Contorsbody as a very compact molecule, respectively. Contorsbodies show increased rigidity compared to IgGs and their Fab moieties are positioned parallel and adjacent to each other. This geometry has an increased potential to trigger cell surface antigen or receptor ‘cis’ dimerization without ‘trans’-bridging of cells or mere receptor blockade.

Published in:
Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
May 14 2020
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 Record created 2020-05-15, last modified 2020-05-18

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