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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(4), 491; doi:10.3390/ijms17040491

Pegylated Trastuzumab Fragments Acquire an Increased in Vivo Stability but Show a Largely Reduced Affinity for the Target Antigen

Bioker srl-Multimedica Group, c/o Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, National Research Council (CNR-IGB) via P. Castellino 111, 80131 Napoli, Italy
Institute of Biostructure and Bioimaging, National Research Council (IBB-CNR), via Mezzocannone 16, 80134 Napoli, Italy
Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca sui Peptidi Bioattivi (CIRPeB), University of Naples Federico II, via Mezzocannone 16, 80134 Napoli, Italy
Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples Federico II, 80134 Napoli, Italy
Department of Biomedical, Biotechnological and Translational Science (S.Bi.Bi.T.), Università di Parma, 43126 Parma, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ge Zhang
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1416 KB, uploaded 1 April 2016]   |  


PEGylation of biomolecules is a major approach to increase blood stream half-life, stability and solubility of biotherapeutics and to reduce their immunogenicity, aggregation potential and unspecific interactions with other proteins and tissues. Antibodies have generally long half-lives due to high molecular mass and stability toward proteases, however their size lowers to some extent their potential because of a reduced ability to penetrate tissues, especially those of tumor origin. Fab or otherwise engineered smaller fragments are an alternative but are less stable and are much less well retained in circulation. We have here investigated the effects of various PEGylations on the binding properties and in vivo half-life of Fab fragments derived from the enzymatic splitting of Trastuzumab. We find that PEGylation increases the half-life of the molecules but also strongly affects the ability to recognize the target antigen in a way that is dependent on the extent and position of the chemical modification. Data thus support the concept that polyethylene glycol (PEG) conjugation on Trastuzumab Fabs increases half-life but reduces their affinity and this is a fine balance, which must be carefully considered for the design of strategies based on the use of antibody fragments. View Full-Text
Keywords: PEGylation; antibody fragment; Fab; papain digestion; pepsin digestion; pharmacokinetics PEGylation; antibody fragment; Fab; papain digestion; pepsin digestion; pharmacokinetics

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Selis, F.; Focà, G.; Sandomenico, A.; Marra, C.; Di Mauro, C.; Saccani Jotti, G.; Scaramuzza, S.; Politano, A.; Sanna, R.; Ruvo, M.; Tonon, G. Pegylated Trastuzumab Fragments Acquire an Increased in Vivo Stability but Show a Largely Reduced Affinity for the Target Antigen. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 491.

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