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Rational affinity maturation of anti-amyloid antibodies with high conformational and sequence specificity
Alec A Desai 1, Matthew D Smith 1, Yulei Zhang 1, Emily K Makowski 2, Julia E Gerson 3, Edward Ionescu 1, Charles G Starr 4, Jennifer M Zupancic 1, Shannon J Moore 5, Alexandra B Sutter 6, Magdalena I Ivanova 6, Geoffrey G Murphy 5, Henry L Paulson 7, Peter M Tessier 8
...we have developed a systematic directed evolution procedure for affinity maturing antibodies against Alzheimer's Aβ fibrils and selecting variants with strict conformational and sequence specificity. We first designed a library based on a lead conformational antibody by sampling combinations of amino acids in the antigen-binding site predicted to mediate high antibody specificity. Next, we displayed this library on the surface of yeast, sorted it against Aβ42 aggregates, and identified promising clones using deep sequencing. The resulting antibodies displayed similar or higher affinities than clinical-stage Aβ antibodies (aducanumab and crenezumab). Moreover, the affinity-matured antibodies retained high conformational specificity for Aβ aggregates, as observed for aducanumab and unlike crenezumab. Notably, the affinity-maturated antibodies displayed extremely low levels of nonspecific interactions, as observed for crenezumab and unlike aducanumab. We expect that our systematic methods for generating antibodies with unique combinations of desirable properties will improve the generation of high-quality conformational antibodies specific for diverse types of aggregated conformers.