To improve both the homogeneity and the stability of ADCs, we have developed site-specific drug-conjugating reagents that covalently rebridge reduced disulfide bonds. The new reagents comprise a drug, a linker, and a bis-reactive conjugating moiety that is capable of undergoing reaction with both sulfur atoms derived from a reduced disulfide bond in antibodies and antibody fragments. A disulfide rebridging reagent comprising monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) was prepared and conjugated to trastuzumab (TRA). A 78% conversion of antibody to ADC with a drug to antibody ratio (DAR) of 4 was achieved with no unconjugated antibody remaining. The MMAE rebridging reagent was also conjugated to the interchain disulfide of a Fab derived from proteolytic digestion of TRA, to give a homogeneous single drug conjugated product. The resulting conjugates retained antigen-binding, were stable in serum, and demonstrated potent and antigen-selective cell killing in in vitro and in vivo cancer models. Disulfide rebridging conjugation is a general approach to prepare stable ADCs, which does not require the antibody to be recombinantly re-engineered for site-specific conjugation.
Protein production can be improved if methods for soluble protein expression are developed. Interferon consensus (IFN-con) is used to treat hepatitis C. IFN-con has superior activity compared to other clinically used interferon ? subtypes. However IFN-con is a challenging protein to produce in a soluble form using an Escherichia coli expression system. Here we describe the expression of soluble and active recombinant IFN-con in E. coli. The IFN-con gene sequence was optimised for expression in E. coli, which was then cloned into the Champion™ pET SUMO expression vector downstream of the SUMO fusion protein and under strong T7lac promoter. The SUMO-IFN-con fusion protein was efficiently expressed using the SHuffle™ E. coli strain and existed in soluble form as 86-88% of the total IFN-con. After removal of the SUMO fusion partner, approximately 50mg of recombinant IFN-con of at least 98% purity (by RP-HPLC) was obtained from a 1L fermentation culture. Using an A549/EMCV antiviral assay, the specific activity of the recombinant IFN-con was determined to be 960×10(6) IU/mg as calculated to NIBSC standard for IFN-con (3×10(5)pfu/mL virus titre). Comparison of the antiviral activity of the produced IFN-con to IFN ?-2a showed that IFN-con displays 2.8 times greater activity, which is in good agreement with what has been reported in the literature for pure protein. IFN-con expression in a soluble form from E. coli allowed us to use a simple, two-step purification process to yield highly pure and active IFN-con which is more efficient than obtaining IFN-con from inclusion bodies.
Unbalanced nutrient availability causes disequilibrated plant growth, which can result in a worsening of harvested product quality, such as high nitrate content in edible tissues. To cope with this problem, improved knowledge of the mechanisms involved in nutrient acquisition and regulation is necessary. For this purpose the responses of acquisition mechanisms of N, Fe and S were studied as a function of Fe and S availability using two corn salad cultivars grown hydroponically, considering also aspects related to N metabolism.
Successful structural investigations of protein-protein interactions can be facilitated by studying only the core interacting regions of the constituent proteins. However, attempting the discovery of stable core complexes using informed trial-and-error approaches can prove time and resource intensive.
The efficacy of protein-based medicines can be compromised by their rapid clearance from the blood circulatory system. Achieving optimal pharmacokinetics is a key requirement for the successful development of safe protein-based medicines. Protein PEGylation is a clinically proven strategy to increase the circulation half-life of protein-based medicines. One limitation of PEGylation is that there are few strategies that achieve site-specific conjugation of PEG to the protein. Here, we describe the covalent conjugation of PEG site-specifically to a polyhistidine tag (His-tag) on a protein. His-tag site-specific PEGylation was achieved with a domain antibody (dAb) that had a 6-histidine His-tag on the C-terminus (dAb-His(6)) and interferon ?-2a (IFN) that had an 8-histidine His-tag on the N-terminus (His(8)-IFN). The site of PEGylation at the His-tag for both dAb-His(6)-PEG and PEG-His(8)-IFN was confirmed by digestion, chromatographic, and mass-spectral studies. A methionine was also inserted directly after the N-terminal His-tag in IFN to give His(8)Met-IFN. Cyanogen bromide digestion studies of PEG-His(8)Met-IFN were also consistent with PEGylation at the His-tag. By using increased stoichiometries of the PEGylation reagent, it was possible to conjugate two separate PEG molecules to the His-tag of both the dAb and IFN proteins. Stability studies followed by in vitro evaluation confirmed that these PEGylated proteins retained their biological activity. In vivo PK studies showed that all of the His-tag PEGylated samples displayed extended circulation half-lives. Together, our results indicate that site-specific, covalent PEG conjugation at a His-tag can be achieved and biological activity maintained with therapeutically relevant proteins.
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