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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 22;277(47):45075-85. Epub 2002 Sep 4.

Direct in vivo screening of intrabody libraries constructed on a highly stable single-chain framework.

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ESBATech AG, Zürich-Schlieren, Switzerland.


Single-chain Fv antibody fragments (scFv) represent a convenient antibody format for intracellular expression in eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells. These so-called intrabodies have great potential in functional genomics as a tool to study the function of newly identified proteins in vivo, for example by binding-induced modulation of their activity or by blocking interactions with other proteins. However, the intracellular expression and activity of many single-chain Fvs are limited by their instability and folding efficiency in the reducing intracellular environment, where the highly conserved intrachain disulfide bonds do not form. In the present work, we used an in vivo selection system to isolate novel antigen-binding intrabodies. We screened two intrabody libraries carrying a randomized third hypervariable loop onto the heavy chain of a stable framework, which had been further optimized by random mutagenesis for better behavior in the selection system, and we biophysically characterized the selected variants to interpret the outcome of the selection. Our results show that single-framework intrabody libraries can be directly screened in vivo to rapidly select antigen-specific intrabodies.

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