Research ArticleIMMUNOLOGY

Robotic QM/MM-driven maturation of antibody combining sites

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Science Advances  19 Oct 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 10, e1501695
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501695

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In vitro selection of antibodies from large repertoires of immunoglobulin (Ig) combining sites using combinatorial libraries is a powerful tool, with great potential for generating in vivo scavengers for toxins. However, addition of a maturation function is necessary to enable these selected antibodies to more closely mimic the full mammalian immune response. We approached this goal using quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations to achieve maturation in silico. We preselected A17, an Ig template, from a naïve library for its ability to disarm a toxic pesticide related to organophosphorus nerve agents. Virtual screening of 167,538 robotically generated mutants identified an optimum single point mutation, which experimentally boosted wild-type Ig scavenger performance by 170-fold. We validated the QM/MM predictions via kinetic analysis and crystal structures of mutant apo-A17 and covalently modified Ig, thereby identifying the displacement of one water molecule by an arginine as delivering this catalysis.

  • Immunology
  • antibodies

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