Journal Article

Absolute conservation of residue 6 of immunoglobulin heavy chain variable regions of class IIA is required for correct folding.

H J de Haard, B Kazemier, A van der Bent, P Oudshoorn, P Boender, B van Gemen, J W Arends and H R Hoogenboom

in Protein Engineering, Design and Selection

Volume 11, issue 12, pages 1267-1276
Published in print December 1998 | ISSN: 1741-0126
Published online December 1998 | e-ISSN: 1741-0134 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/protein/11.12.1267
Absolute conservation of residue 6 of immunoglobulin heavy chain variable regions of class IIA is required for correct folding.

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While studying the expression of single-chain antibodies (scFv) derived from several murine monoclonal antibodies, we found that residue 6 in Framework region 1 of the heavy chain variable domain plays a crucial role in antibody folding. Binding activity of three murine antibodies with a heavy chain variable region (VH) subgroup IIA was completely lost when at this position the wild-type residue glutamine (Q) was substituted by glutamate (E). Increased sensitivity towards trypsin digestion of soluble scFv suggested that the lack of binding activity was caused by incorrect folding of Q6E mutants. Grafting of the three additional class IA derived FR1 residues, based upon the comparison between both classes of VH sequences, on to the 'defect' subgroup IIA sequence, partially restored the antigen binding activity of the Q6E-containing scFv. Our results suggest that residue 6 of the heavy chain may be part of a folding nucleus, involving the first two beta-strands of Framework region 1. The evolutionary conservation of either glutamine or glutamate at position 6 in different antibody families may well indicate that within immunoglobulin VH domains, different family specific folding nuclei have evolved.

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Subjects: Proteins

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