Intracellular antibody capture: A molecular biology approach to inhibitors of protein-protein interactions.
Zhang J., Rabbitts TH.
Many proteins of interest in basic biology, translational research studies and for clinical targeting in diseases reside inside the cell and function by interacting with other macromolecules. Protein complexes control basic processes such as development and cell division but also abnormal cell growth when mutations occur such as found in cancer. Interfering with protein-protein interactions is an important aspiration in both basic and disease biology but small molecule inhibitors have been difficult and expensive to isolate. Recently, we have adapted molecular biology techniques to develop a simple set of protocols for isolation of high affinity antibody fragments (in the form of single VH domains) that function within the reducing environment of higher organism cells and can bind to their target molecules. The method called Intracellular Antibody Capture (IAC) has been used to develop inhibitory anti-RAS and anti-LMO2 single domains that have been used for target validation of these antigens in pre-clinical cancer models and illustrate the efficacy of the IAC approach to generation of drug surrogates. Future use of inhibitory VH antibody fragments as drugs in their own right (we term these macrodrugs to distinguish them from small molecule drugs) requires their delivery to target cells in vivo but they can also be templates for small molecule drug development that emulate the binding sites of the antibody fragments. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Recent advances in molecular engineering of antibody.