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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jun 25;274(26):18218-30.

A large non-immunized human Fab fragment phage library that permits rapid isolation and kinetic analysis of high affinity antibodies.

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Target Quest B.V., Maastricht University and University Hospital Maastricht, P.O. Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


We report the design, construction, and use of the first very large non-immunized phage antibody library in Fab format, which allows the rapid isolation and affinity analysis of antigen-specific human antibody fragments. Individually cloned heavy and light chain variable region libraries were combined in an efficient two-step cloning procedure, permitting the cloning of a total of 3.7 x 10(10) independent Fab clones. The performance of the library was determined by the successful selection of on average 14 different Fabs against 6 antigens tested. These include tetanus toxoid, the hapten phenyl-oxazolone, the breast cancer-associated MUC1 antigen, and three highly related glycoprotein hormones: human chorionic gonadotropin, human luteinizing hormone, and human follicle-stimulating hormone. In the latter category, a panel of either homone-specific or cross-reactive antibodies were identified. The design of the library permits the monitoring of selections with polyclonal phage preparations and to carry out large scale screening of antibody off-rates with unpurified Fab fragments on BIAcore. Antibodies with off-rates in the order of 10(-2) to 10(-4) s-1 and affinities up to 2.7 nM were recovered. The kinetics of these phage antibodies are of the same order of magnitude as antibodies associated with a secondary immune response. This new phage antibody library is set to become a valuable source of antibodies to many different targets, and to play a vital role in target discovery and validation in the area of functional genomics.

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