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MAbs. 2012 May-Jun;4(3):362-72. doi: 10.4161/mabs.19449. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Impact of linker and conjugation chemistry on antigen binding, Fc receptor binding and thermal stability of model antibody-drug conjugates.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) with biotin as a model cargo tethered to IgG1 mAbs via different linkers and conjugation methods were prepared and tested for thermostability and ability to bind target antigen and Fc receptor. Most conjugates demonstrated decreased thermostability relative to unconjugated antibody, based on DSC, with carbohydrate and amine coupled ADCs showing the least effect compared with thiol coupled conjugates. A strong correlation between biotin-load and loss of stability is observed with thiol conjugation to one IgG scaffold, but the stability of a second IgG scaffold is relatively insensitive to biotin load. The same correlation for amine coupling was less significant. Binding of antibody to antigen and Fc receptor was investigated using surface plasmon resonance. None of the conjugates exhibited altered antigen affinity. Fc receptor FcγIIb (CD32b) interactions were investigated using captured antibody conjugate. Protein G and Protein A, known inhibitors of Fc receptor (FcR) binding to IgG, were also used to extend the analysis of the impact of conjugation on Fc receptor binding. H10NPEG4 was the only conjugate to show significant negative impact to FcR binding, which is likely due to higher biotin-load compared with the other ADCs. The ADC aHISNLC and aHISTPEG8 demonstrated some loss in affinity for FcR, but to much lower extent. The general insensitivity of target binding and effector function of the IgG1 platform to conjugation highlight their utility. The observed changes in thermostability require consideration for the choice of conjugation chemistry, depending on the system being pursued and particular application of the conjugate.

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