Bailey LJ, Sheehy KM, Hoey RJ, Schaefer ZP, Ura M, Kossiakoff AA
J. Immunol. Methods 2014 Dec;415:24-30
Immunoglobulin binding proteins (IBPs) are broadly used as reagents for the purification and detection of antibodies. Among the IBPs, the most widely used are Protein-A and Protein-G. The C2 domain of Protein-G from Streptococcus is a multi-specific protein domain; it possesses a high affinity (K(D) ~10 nM) for the Fc region of the IgG, but a much lower affinity (KD~low μM) for the constant domain of the antibody fragment (Fab), which limits some of its applications. Here, we describe the engineering of the Protein-G interface using phage display to create Protein-G-A1, a variant with 8 point mutations and an approximately 100-fold improved affinity over the parent domain for the 4D5 Fab scaffold. Protein-G-A1 is capable of robust binding to Fab fragments for numerous applications. Furthermore, we isolated a variant with pH-dependent affinity, demonstrating a 1,000-fold change in affinity from pH7 to 4. Additional rational mutagenesis endowed Protein-G with significantly enhanced stability in basic conditions relative to the parent domain while maintaining high affinity to the Fab. This property is particularly useful to regenerate Protein-G affinity columns. Lastly, the affinity-matured Protein-G-A1 variant was tethered together to produce dimers capable of providing multivalent affinity enhancement to a low affinity antibody fragment-antigen interaction. Engineered Protein-G variants should find widespread application in the use of Fab-based affinity reagents.