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MAbs. 2014;6(5):1190-200. doi: 10.4161/mabs.29889. Epub 2014 Oct 30.

Site-specific antibody-drug conjugation through an engineered glycotransferase and a chemically reactive sugar.

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a Protein Interactions Group; Laboratory of Experimental Immunology; Cancer and Inflammation Program; Center for Cancer Research; National Cancer Institute; National Institutes of Health ; Frederick , MD , USA.


Conjugation of small molecule drugs to specific sites on the antibody molecule has been increasingly used for the generation of relatively homogenous preparations of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) with physicochemical properties similar or identical to those of the naked antibody. Previously a method for conjugation of small molecules to glycoproteins through existing glycans by using an engineered glycotransferase and a chemically reactive sugar as a handle was developed. Here, for the first time, we report the use of this method with some modifications to generate an ADC from a monoclonal antibody, m860, which we identified from a human naïve phage display Fab library by panning against the extracellular domain of human HER2. M860 bound to cell surface-associated HER2 with affinity comparable to that of Trastuzumab (Herceptin), but to a different epitope. The m860ADC was generated by enzymatically adding a reactive keto-galactose to m860 using an engineered glycotransferase and conjugating the reactive m860 to aminooxy auristatin F. It exhibited potent and specific cell-killing activity against HER2 positive cancer cells, including trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer cells. This unique ADC may have utility as a potential therapeutic for HER2 positive cancers alone or in combination with other drugs. Our results also validate the keto-galactose/engineered glycotransferase method for generation of functional ADCs, which could potentially also be used for preparation of ADCs targeting other disease markers.


ADC; anti-HER2; antibody-drug conjugates; glycoengineering; site-specific ADC

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