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J Mol Recognit. 2000 Jul-Aug;13(4):167-87.

Engineered protein scaffolds for molecular recognition.

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Lehrstuhl für Biologische Chemie, Technische Universität München, D-85350 Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany.

Erratum in

  • J Mol Recognit 2001 Mar-Apr;14(2):141.


The use of so-called protein scaffolds has recently attracted considerable attention in biochemistry in the context of generating novel types of ligand receptors for various applications in research and medicine. This development started with the notion that immunoglobulins owe their function to the composition of a conserved framework region and a spatially well-defined antigen-binding site made of peptide segments that are hypervariable both in sequence and in conformation. After the application of antibody engineering methods along with library techniques had resulted in first successes in the selection of functional antibody fragments, several laboratories began to exploit other types of protein architectures for the construction of practically useful binding proteins. Properties like small size of the receptor protein, stability and ease of production were the focus of this work. Hence, among others, single domains of antibodies or of the immunoglobulin superfamily, protease inhibitors, helix-bundle proteins, disulphide-knotted peptides and lipocalins were investigated. Recently, the scaffold concept has even been adopted for the construction of enzymes. However, it appears that not all kinds of polypeptide fold which may appear attractive for the engineering of loop regions at a first glance will indeed permit the construction of independent ligand-binding sites with high affinities and specificities. This review will therefore concentrate on the critical description of the structural properties of experimentally tested protein scaffolds and of the novel functions that have been achieved on their basis, rather than on the methodology of how to best select a particular mutant with a certain activity. An overview will be provided about the current approaches, and some emerging trends will be identified. (c) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Abbreviations used: ABD albumin-binding domain of protein G APPI Alzheimer's amyloid beta-protein precursor inhibitor BBP bilin-binding protein BPTI bovine (or basic) pancreatic trypsin inhibitor BSA bovine serum albumin CBD cellulose-binding domain of cellobiohydrolase I CD circular dichroism Cdk2 human cyclin-dependent kinase 2 CDR complementarity-determining region CTLA-4 human cytotoxic T-lymphocyte associated protein-4 FN3 fibronectin type III domain GSH glutathione GST glutathione S-transferase hIL-6 human interleukin-6 HSA human serum albumin IC(50) half-maximal inhibitory concentration Ig immunoglobulin IMAC immobilized metal affinity chromatography K(D) equilibrium constant of dissociation K(i) equilibrium dissociation constant of enzyme inhibitor LACI-D1 human lipoprotein-associated coagulation inhibitor pIII gene III minor coat protein from filamentous bacteriophage f1 PCR polymerase-chain reaction PDB Protein Data Bank PSTI human pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor RBP retinol-binding protein SPR surface plasmon resonance TrxA E. coli thioredoxin.

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