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J Mol Biol. 2011 Sep 9;412(1):55-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2011.07.018. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Synthetic antibodies designed on natural sequence landscapes.

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Rinat, Pfizer Inc., 230 East Grand Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.


We present a method for synthetic antibody library generation that combines the use of high-throughput immune repertoire analysis and a novel synthetic technology. The library design recapitulates positional amino acid frequencies observed in natural antibody repertoires. V-segment diversity in four heavy (V(H)) and two kappa (V(κ)) germlines was introduced based on the analysis of somatically hypermutated donor-derived repertoires. Complementarity-determining region 3 length and amino acid designs were based on aggregate frequencies of all V(H) and V(κ) sequences in the data set. The designed libraries were constructed through an adaptation of a novel gene synthesis technology that enables precise positional control of amino acid composition and incorporation frequencies. High-throughput pyrosequencing was used to monitor the fidelity of construction and characterize genetic diversity in the final 3.6×10(10) transformants. The library exhibited Fab expression superior to currently reported synthetic approaches of equivalent diversity, with greater than 93% of clones observed to successfully display both a correctly folded heavy chain and a correctly folded light chain. Genetic diversity in the library was high, with 95% of 7.0×10(5) clones sequenced observed only once. The obtained library diversity explores a comparable sequence space as the donor-derived natural repertoire and, at the same time, is able to access novel recombined diversity due to lack of segmental linkage. The successful isolation of low- and subnanomolar-affinity antibodies against a diverse panel of receptors, growth factors, enzymes, antigens from infectious reagents, and peptides confirms the functional viability of the design strategy.

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