The sequence fitness of a llama single-domain antibody with an unusually high thermal stability is explored by a combined computational and experimental study. Starting with the X-ray crystallographic structure, RosettaBackrub simulations were applied to model sequence–structure tolerance profiles and identify key substitution sites. From the model calculations, an experimental site-directed mutagenesis was used to produce a panel of mutants, and their melting temperatures were determined by thermal denaturation. The results reveal a sequence fitness of an excess stability of approximately 12 °C, a value taken from a decrease in the melting temperature of an electrostatic charge-reversal substitution in the CRD3 without a deleterious effect on the binding affinity to the antigen. The tolerance for the disruption of antigen recognition without loss in the thermal stability was demonstrated by the introduction of a proline in place of a tyrosine in the CDR2, producing a mutant that eliminated binding. To further assist the sequence design and the selection of engineered single-domain antibodies, an assessment of different computational strategies is provided of their accuracy in the detection of substitution “hot spots” in the sequence tolerance landscape.
Submitter: Shu-Ching Ou
Submission Date: June 24, 2019, 8:52 p.m.