MAbs. 2018 Feb 01; doi: 10.1080/19420862.2018.1426422

Adam S. Adler, Daniel Bedinger, Matthew S. Adams, Michael A. Asensio, Robert C. Edgar, Renee Leong, Jackson Leong, Rena A. Mizrahi, Matthew J. Spindler, Srinivasa Rao Bandi, Haichun Huang, Pallavi Tawde, Peter Brams, David S. Johnson


Deep sequencing and single-chain variable fragment (scFv) yeast display methods are becoming more popular for discovery of therapeutic antibody candidates in mouse B cell repertoires. In this study, we compare a deep sequencing and scFv display method that retains native heavy and light chain pairing with a related method that randomly pairs heavy and light chain. We performed the studies in a humanized mouse, using interleukin 21 receptor (IL-21R) as a test immunogen. We identified 44 high-affinity binder scFv with the native pairing method and 100 high-affinity binder scFv with the random pairing method. 30% of the natively paired scFv binders were also discovered with the randomly paired method, and 13% of the randomly paired binders were also discovered with the natively paired method. Additionally, 33% of the scFv binders discovered only in the randomly paired library were initially present in the natively paired pre-sort library. Thus, a significant proportion of “randomly paired” scFv were actually natively paired. We synthesized and produced 46 of the candidates as full-length antibodies and subjected them to a panel of binding assays to characterize their therapeutic potential. 87% of the antibodies were verified as binding IL-21R by at least one assay. We found that antibodies with native light chains were more likely to bind IL-21R than antibodies with non-native light chains, suggesting a higher false positive rate for antibodies from the randomly paired library. Additionally, the randomly paired method failed to identify nearly half of the true natively paired binders, suggesting a higher false negative rate. We conclude that natively paired libraries have critical advantages in sensitivity and specificity for antibody discovery programs.

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