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Anal Chem. 2007 Apr 1;79(7):2797-805. Epub 2007 Feb 24.

Identification of a single tryptophan residue as critical for binding activity in a humanized monoclonal antibody against respiratory syncytial virus.

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Department of Analytical Biochemistry, MedImmune, One MedImmune Way, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878, USA.


We have identified a single tryptophan (Trp) residue responsible for loss of binding and biological activity upon ultraviolet (UV) light irradiation in MEDI-493, a humanized monoclonal antibody (MAb) against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This finding provides a better understanding of structure-function relationship in a 150-kDa protein. Irradiation of MEDI-493 with UV light resulted in spectral changes typical of Trp photoproducts and in a progressive loss of MEDI-493 binding and biological activity as measured by ELISA, Biacore, and cell-based assays. Mass spectrometric characterization of the proteolytic peptides generated from the UV irradiated MEDI-493 confirmed that most methionine (Met) and a few Trp residues were oxidized to various extents upon exposure to UV light. Among Trp residues, only Trp-105, containing the most solvent-exposed indole moiety in MEDI-493 and residing in a complementary-determining region (CDR) of the heavy chain, was significantly oxidized. When bound to a synthetic antigenic peptide, MEDI-493 showed significant resistance toward binding activity loss during UV irradiation. A second MAb (MEDI-524) with Trp-105 replaced by phenylalanine (Phe) showed a similar pattern of Met oxidation, but no loss of binding and biological activity following irradiation. Treatment of both MAbs with Met- and Trp-specific oxidizing reagents showed that oxidation of Trp-105 correlated with the activity loss, whereas Met oxidation did not affect the activity. These results demonstrate that Trp-105 in MEDI-493 is responsible for the UV light-induced effects.

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