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Antibodies 2015, 4(3), 240-258; doi:10.3390/antib4030240

VNARs: An Ancient and Unique Repertoire of Molecules That Deliver Small, Soluble, Stable and High Affinity Binders of Proteins

Elasmogen Ltd, Scottish Biologics Facility, Foresterhill, Aberdeen, AB25 2ZP, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Friedrich Koch-Nolte
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 1 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanobodies)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [752 KB, uploaded 1 September 2015]   |  

Abstract

At 420 million years, the variable domain of New Antigen Receptors or VNARs are undoubtedly the oldest (and smallest) antigen binding single domains identified in the vertebrate kingdom. Their role as an integral part of the adaptive immune system of sharks has been well established and has served to provide a greater understanding of the evolution of humoral immunity; their cellular components and processes as well as the underlying genetic organization and molecular control mechanisms. Intriguingly, unlike the variable domain of the camelid heavy chain antibodies or VHH, VNARs do not conform to all of the characteristic properties of classical antibodies with an ancestral origin that clearly distinguishes them from true immunoglobulin antibodies. However, this uniqueness of their origin only adds to their potential as next generation therapeutic biologics with their structural and functional attributes and commercial freedom all enhancing their profile and current success. In fact their small size, remarkable stability, molecular flexibility and solubility, together with their high affinity and selectivity for target, all reinforce the potential of these domains as drug candidates. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of the existing basic biology of these unique domains, to highlight the drug-like properties of VNARs and describe current progress in their journey towards the clinic. View Full-Text
Keywords: VNAR; biologics; antibody; single-domain; shark; therapeutics; humanization; stability; shark VNAR; biologics; antibody; single-domain; shark; therapeutics; humanization; stability; shark
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Barelle, C.; Porter, A. VNARs: An Ancient and Unique Repertoire of Molecules That Deliver Small, Soluble, Stable and High Affinity Binders of Proteins. Antibodies 2015, 4, 240-258.

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