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Enhanced Thermal Stability and Reduced Aggregation in an Antibody Fab Fragment at Elevated Concentrations

Zhang, Cheng; Bye, Jordan W; Lui, Lok H; Zhang, Hongyu; Hales, John; Brocchini, Steve; Curtis, Robin A; (2023) Enhanced Thermal Stability and Reduced Aggregation in an Antibody Fab Fragment at Elevated Concentrations. Molecular Pharmaceutics 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.3c00081. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The aggregation of protein therapeutics such as antibodies remains a major challenge in the biopharmaceutical industry. The present study aimed to characterize the impact of the protein concentration on the mechanisms and potential pathways for aggregation, using the antibody Fab fragment A33 as the model protein. Aggregation kinetics were determined for 0.05 to 100 mg/mL Fab A33, at 65 °C. A surprising trend was observed whereby increasing the concentration decreased the relative aggregation rate, ln(v) (% day-1), from 8.5 at 0.05 mg/mL to 4.4 at 100 mg/mL. The absolute aggregation rate (mol L-1 h-1) increased with the concentration following a rate order of approximately 1 up to a concentration of 25 mg/mL. Above this concentration, there was a transition to an apparently negative rate order of -1.1 up to 100 mg/mL. Several potential mechanisms were examined as possible explanations. A greater apparent conformational stability at 100 mg/mL was observed from an increase in the thermal transition midpoint (Tm) by 7-9 °C, relative to those at 1-4 mg/mL. The associated change in unfolding entropy (△Svh) also increased by 14-18% at 25-100 mg/mL, relative to those at 1-4 mg/mL, indicating reduced conformational flexibility in the native ensemble. Addition of Tween or the crowding agents Ficoll and dextran, showed that neither surface adsorption, diffusion limitations nor simple volume crowding affected the aggregation rate. Fitting of kinetic data to a wide range of mechanistic models implied a reversible two-state conformational switch mechanism from aggregation-prone monomers (N*) into non-aggregating native forms (N) at higher concentrations. kD measurements from DLS data also suggested a weak self-attraction while remaining colloidally stable, consistent with macromolecular self-crowding within weakly associated reversible oligomers. Such a model is also consistent with compaction of the native ensemble observed through changes in Tm and △Svh.

Type: Article
Title: Enhanced Thermal Stability and Reduced Aggregation in an Antibody Fab Fragment at Elevated Concentrations
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.3c00081
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.3c00081
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Aggregation, concentration, crowding effect, dynamic light scattering (DLS), entropy change (△Svh), fab, mechanistic model, melting temperature (Tm)
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Biochemical Engineering
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10168437
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