PLoS One. 2017 Jan 06; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169535.
Abdiche YN, Yeung AY, Ni I, Stone D, Miles A, Morishige W, Rossi A, Strop P.
Here we describe how real-time label-free biosensors can be used to identify antibodies that compete for closely adjacent or minimally overlapping epitopes on their specific antigen via a mechanism of antibody displacement. By kinetically perturbing one another’s binding towards their antigen via the formation of a transient trimolecular complex, antibodies can displace one another in a fully reversible and dose-dependent manner. Displacements can be readily identified when epitope binning assays are performed in a classical sandwich assay format whereby a solution antibody (analyte) is tested for binding to its antigen that is first captured via an immobilized antibody (ligand) because an inverted sandwiching response is observed when an analyte displaces a ligand, signifying the antigen’s unusually rapid dissociation from its ligand. In addition to classifying antibodies within a panel in terms of their ability to block or sandwich pair with one another, displacement provides a hybrid mechanism of competition. Using high-throughput epitope binning studies we demonstrate that displacements can be observed on any target, if the antibody panel contains appropriate epitope diversity. Unidirectional displacements occurring between disparate-affinity antibodies can generate apparent asymmetries in a cross-blocking experiment, confounding their interpretation. However, examining competition across a wide enough concentration range will often reveal that these displacements are reversible. Displacement provides a gentle and efficient way of eluting antigen from an otherwise high affinity binding partner which can be leveraged in designing reagents or therapeutic antibodies with unique properties.