Hussain, 2019

2019 - Nat Protoc. 2019 Nov;14(11):3101-3125.

One-step site-specific antibody fragment auto-conjugation using SNAP-tag technology

Hussain AF, Heppenstall PA, Kampmeier F, Meinhold-Heerlein I, Barth S.

Antibody-based diagnostic and therapeutic agents play a substantial role in medicine, especially in cancer management. A variety of chemical, genetic and enzymatic site–specific conjugation methods have been developed for equipping antibodies with effector molecules to generate homogeneous antibody conjugates with tailored properties. However, most of these methods are relatively complicated and expensive and require several reaction steps. Self-labeling proteins such as the SNAP-tag are an innovative solution for addressing these challenges. The SNAP-tag is a modified version of the human DNA repair enzyme alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (AGT), which reacts specifically with O(6)-benzylguanine (BG)-modified molecules via irreversible transfer of an alkyl group to a cysteine residue. It provides a simple, controlled and robust site-specific method for labeling antibodies with different synthetic small effector molecules. Fusing a SNAP-tag to recombinant antibodies allows efficient conjugation of BG-containing substrates by autocatalytic, irreversible transfer of the alkyl group to a cysteine residue in the enzyme’s active site under physiological conditions and with a 1:1 stoichiometry. This protocol describes how to generate site-specific SNAP-tag single-chain antibody fragment (scFv) conjugates with different types of BG-modified effector molecules. A specific example is included for the design and production of an scFv-photosensitizer conjugate and its characterization as an immuno-theranostic agent. This protocol includes DNA sequences encoding scFV–SNAP-tag fusion proteins and outlines strategies for expression, purification and testing of the resulting scFv–SNAP-tag–based immuno-conjugates. All experiments can be performed by a graduate-level researcher with basic molecular biology skills within an 8-week time frame.


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