5 years ago

Fate of a Stressed Therapeutic Antibody Tracked by Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy: Folded Monomers Survive Aggregation

Fate of a Stressed Therapeutic Antibody Tracked by Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy: Folded Monomers Survive Aggregation
Akira Sasaki, Hiroshi Imamura, Shinya Honda
Antibodies are therapeutic proteins that are becoming indispensable for the treatment of serious diseases. Their efficacies depend on their folded structures, the loss of which, through unfolding or aggregation, should be closely monitored during their manufacture, storage, and dosing for safe usage. In downstream processes, exposure of the crude antibody solution to acid, followed by neutralization, is an established standard protocol for antibody purification and inactivation of viruses in antibody preparations. Nevertheless, this treatment also triggers an unwanted side reaction, i.e., antibody aggregation. The aggregates continuously evolve at neutral pH. It remains unclear whether the aggregates progressively incorporate the native, folded, monomers into themselves, enabling aggregate growth as seen in amyloid fibrils. In the present study, the diffusion of fluorescently labeled monoclonal humanized immunoglobulin G1 monomers in aggregates produced by pH-shift stress was tracked by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. This method was used in addition to monitoring aggregate formation by dynamic light scattering. The diffusing velocities of the monomers indicated that the folded monomers were not involved in aggregate formation, in contrast with unfolded monomers. On the basis of the results, we propose a bifurcated pathway for the refolding and aggregation of antibodies triggered by a pH shift from acidic to neutral. In the scheme, the refolded monomers survive until their unfolding. The insights in this study will contribute to the manufacture of aggregation-resistant therapeutic antibodies.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b05603

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.7b05603

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