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Impact of Antigen Density on Recognition by Monoclonal Antibodies

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2020, 11:41 by Laure Bar, Jérôme Dejeu, Rémy Lartia, Fouzia Bano, Ralf P. Richter, Liliane Coche-Guérente, Didier Boturyn
Understanding antigen–antibody interactions is important to many emerging medical and bioanalytical applications. In particular, the levels of antigen expression at the cell surface may determine antibody-mediated cell death. This parameter has a clear effect on outcome in patients undergoing immunotherapy. In this context, CD20 which is expressed in the membrane of B cells has received significant attention as target for immunotherapy of leukemia and lymphoma using the monoclonal antibody rituximab. To systematically study the impact of CD20 density on antibody recognition, we designed self-assembled monolayers that display tunable CD20 epitope densities. For this purpose, we developed in situ click chemistry to functionalize SPR sensor chips. We find that the rituximab binding affinity depends sensitively and nonmonotonously on CD20 surface density. Strongest binding, with an equilibrium dissociation constant (KD = 32 nM) close to values previously reported from in vitro analysis with B cells (apparent KD between 5 and 19 nM), was obtained for an average inter-antigen spacing of 2 nm. This distance is required for improving rituximab recognition, and in agreement with the known requirement of CD20 to form clusters to elicit a biological response. More generally, this study offers an interesting outlook in the understanding of the necessity of epitope clusters for effective mAb recognition.

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