Isolation and expression of recombinant antibody fragments to the biological warfare pathogen Brucella melitensis

Andrew Hayhurst, Scott Happe, Robert Mabry, Zephyr Koch, Brent L. Iverson, George Georgiou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations

Abstract

Brucella melitensis is a highly infectious animal pathogen able to cause a recurring debilitating disease in humans and is therefore high on the list of biological warfare agents. Immunoglobulin genes from mice immunized with gamma-irradiated B. melitensis strain 16M were used to construct a library that was screened by phage display against similarly prepared bacteria. The selected phage particles afforded a strong enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) signal against gamma-irradiated B. melitensis cells. However, extensive efforts to express the respective single chain antibody variable region fragment (scFv) in soluble form failed due to: (i) poor solubility and (ii) in vivo degradation of the c-myc tag used for the detection of the recombinant antibodies. Both problems could be addressed by: (i) fusing a human kappa light chain constant domain (Ck) chain to the scFv to generate single chain antibody fragment (scAb) antibody fragments and (ii) by co-expression of the periplasmic chaperone Skp. While soluble, functional antibodies could be produced in this manner, phage-displaying scFvs or scAbs were still found to be superior ELISA reagents for immunoassays, due to the large signal amplification afforded by anti-phage antibodies. The isolated phage antibodies were shown to be highly specific to B. melitensis and did not recognize Yersinia pseudotuberculosis in contrast to the existing diagnostic monoclonal YST 9.2.1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-196
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Volume276
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 9E10
  • Biological agent detection
  • Brucella melitensis
  • Phage display
  • c-myc tag
  • scFv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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