The use of monoclonal antibody as the next generation protein therapeutics with remarkable success has surged the development of antibody engineering to design molecules for optimizing affinity, better efficacy, greater safety and therapeutic function. Therefore, computational methods have become increasingly important to generate hypotheses, interpret and guide experimental works. In this chapter, we discussed the overall antibody design by computational approches.
A random peptide library of heptamers displayed on the surface of M13 bacteriophage was used to identify specific epitopes of antibodies in pooled sera of swine naturally infected by Nipah virus. The selected heptapeptides were aligned with protein sequences of Nipah virus and several putative epitopes were identified within the nucleocapsid protein. A total of 41 of 60 (68%) selected phage clones had inserts resembling a region with the sequence SNRTQGE, located at the C-terminal end (amino acids 503-509) of the nucleocapsid protein. The binding of antibodies in the swine and human antisera to the phage clone was inhibited by a synthetic peptide corresponding to this region. Epitopes identified by phage display are consistent with the predicted antigenic sites for the Nipah virus nucleocapsid protein. The selected phage clone used as a coating antigen discriminated swine and human Nipah virus sera-positive from sera-negative samples exhibiting characteristics, which might be attractive for diagnostic tests.
Previous studies have found Kunjin (KUN) virus isolates from within Australia to be genetically homogenous and that the envelope protein of the type strain (MRM61C) was unglycosylated and lacked a potential glycosylation site. We investigated the extent of antigenic variation between KUN virus isolates from Australia and Sarawak using an immunoperoxidase assay and a panel of six monoclonal antibodies. The glycosylation status of the E protein of each virus was also determined by N glycosidase F (PNGase F) digestion and limited sequence analysis. The results showed that KUN viruses isolated within Australia oscillated between three antigenic types defined by two epitopes whose expression was influenced by passage history and host cell type. In contrast an isolate from Sarawak formed a stable antigenic type that was not influenced by passage history and was distinct from all Australian isolates. PNGase F digestions of KUN isolates indicated that 19 of the 33 viruses possessed a glycosylated E protein. Nucleotide sequence of the 5' third of the E gene of selected KUN isolates revealed that a single base change in PNGase F sensitive strains changed the tripeptide N-Y-F (amino acids 154-156 of the published sequence) to the potential glycosylation site N-Y-S. Further analysis revealed that passage history also had a significant influence on glycosylation.
A high incidence of sensitization to Blomia tropicalis, the predominant house dust mite species in tropical regions, is strongly associated with allergic diseases in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brazil. IgE binding to the group 5 allergen, Blo t 5, is found to be the most prevalent among all B. tropicalis allergens. The NMR structure of Blo t 5 determined represents a novel helical bundle structure consisting of three antiparallel alpha-helices. Based on the structure and sequence alignment with other known group 5 dust mite allergens, surface-exposed charged residues have been identified for site-directed mutagenesis and IgE binding assays. Four charged residues, Glu76, Asp81, Glu86, and Glu91 at around the turn region connecting helices alpha2 and alpha3 have been identified to be involved in the IgE binding. Using overlapping peptides, we have confirmed that these charged residues are located on a major putative linear IgE epitope of Blo t 5 from residues 76-91 comprising the sequence ELKRTDLNILERFNYE. Triple and quadruple mutants have been generated and found to exhibit significantly lower IgE binding and reduced responses in skin prick tests. The mutants induced similar PBMC proliferation as the wild-type protein but with reduced Th2:Th1 cytokines ratio. Mass screening on a quadruple mutant showed a 40% reduction in IgE binding in 35 of 42 sera of atopic individuals. Findings in this study further stressed the importance of surface-charged residues on IgE binding and have implications in the cross-reactivity and use of Blo t 5 mutants as a hypoallergen for immunotherapy.