Development of a Rapid Identification Method for a Variety of Antibody Candidates Using High-throughput Sequencing.

 As an alternative to hybridoma technology, the antibody phage library system can also be used for antibody selection. This method enables the isolation of antigen-specific binders through an in vitro selection process known as biopanning. While it has several advantages, such as an avoidance of animal immunization, the phage cloning and screening steps of biopanning are time-consuming and problematic. Here, we introduce a novel biopanning method combined with high-throughput sequencing (HTS) using a next-generation sequencer (NGS) to save time and effort in antibody selection, and to increase the diversity of acquired antibody sequences. Biopannings against a target antigen were performed using a human single chain Fv (scFv) antibody phage library. VH genes in pooled phages at each round of biopanning were analyzed by HTS on a NGS. The obtained data were trimmed, merged, and translated into amino acid sequences. The frequencies (%) of the respective VH sequences at each biopanning step were calculated, and the amplification factor (change of frequency through biopanning) was obtained to estimate the potential for antigen binding. A phylogenetic tree was drawn using the top 50 VH sequences with high amplification factors. Representative VH sequences forming the cluster were then picked up and used to reconstruct scFv genes harboring these VHs. Their derived scFv-Fc fusion proteins showed clear antigen binding activity. These results indicate that a combination of biopanning and HTS enables the rapid and comprehensive identification of specific binders from antibody phage libraries.

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