Affinity maturation of a V(H)H by mutational hotspot randomization.

Journal of immunological methods

PubMedID: 15777944

Yau KY, Dubuc G, Li S, Hirama T, Mackenzie CR, Jermutus L, Hall JC, Tanha J. Affinity maturation of a V(H)H by mutational hotspot randomization. J Immunol Methods. 2005;297(1-2):213-24.
V(H)Hs from naive libraries have dissociation constants (K(D)s) in the low micromolar range and thus, for most antibody applications, their intrinsic affinities need to be improved significantly. Non-targeted in vitro affinity maturation approaches based on indiscriminate randomization of complementarity-determining region (CDR) residues or random mutagenesis of conventional antibody variable domains have been shown to improve the affinity of recombinant antibodies by 450- to over 6000-fold. A different, targeted approach based on selective randomization of CDR codons containing AGY/RGYW nucleotide mutational hotspots i.e., "hotspot codons", also promises to be very efficient for improving antibody affinities. Here we employed the latter approach for improving the affinity of PTH22, a parathyroid hormone (PTH)-derived peptide-specific V(H)H that was isolated from a naive llama phage display library. A PTH22 mutant ribosome display library was constructed by randomizing nine CDR2 and CDR3 hotspot codons. The affinity improvement of the lead binder was 30-fold, which seems somewhat low in view of the large number of randomized hotspot codons. Nucleotide sequence analyses of PTH22 and 23 naive V(H)Hs suggested that many AGY/RGYW mutational hotspots are not affinity mutational hotspots but play a role in V(H)H solubility, structure, and deletion/insertion events. Our results indicate that the mutagenesis approach described here is beneficial in terms of yielding moderate increases in affinity while fine-tuning physical properties of an antibody.