The role of interface framework residues in determining antibody VH/VL interaction strength and antigen-binding affinity

Kenji Masuda, Kenzo Sakamoto, Miki Kojima, Takahide Aburatani, Takuya Ueda, Hiroshi Ueda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


While many antibodies with strong antigen-binding affinity have stable variable regions with a strong antibody heavy chain variable region fragment (VH)/antibody light chain variable region fragment (VL) interaction, the anti-lysozyme IgG HyHEL-10 has a fairly strong affinity, yet a very weak VH/VL interaction strength, in the absence of antigen. To investigate the possible relationship between antigen-binding affinity and VH/VL interaction strength, a novel phage display system that can switch two display modes was employed. We focused on the two framework region 2 regions of the HyHEL-10 VH and VL, facing each other at the domain interface, and a combinatorial library was made in which each framework region 2 residue was mixed with that of D1.3, which has a far stronger VH/VL interaction. The phagemid library, encoding VH gene 7 and VL amber codon gene 9, was used to transform TG-1 (sup+), and the phages displaying functional variable regions were selected. The selected phages were then used to infect a nonsuppressing strain, and the culture supernatant containing VH-displaying phages and soluble VL fragment was used to evaluate the VH/VL interaction strength. The results clearly showed the existence of a key framework region 2 residue (H39) that strongly affects VH/VL interaction strength, and a marked positive correlation between the antigen-binding affinity and the VH/VL interaction, especially in the presence of a set of particular VL residues. The effect of the H39 mutation on the wild-type variable region was also confirmed by a SPR biosensor as a several-fold increase in antigen-binding affinity owing to an increased association rate, while a slight decrease was observed for the single-chain variable region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2184-2194
Number of pages11
JournalFEBS Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2006 May
Externally publishedYes


  • Antibody variable region
  • Antigen-antibody interaction
  • Combinatorial mutagenesis
  • Immunoassay
  • Phage display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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