Bioconjugate chemistry

Discovery of hapten-specific scFv from a phage display library and applications for HER2-positive tumor imaging.

PMID 24898150


In this study, an anti-hapten antibody (single chain Fv, scFv) against a hapten probe was developed as a unique reporter system for molecular imaging or therapy. The hapten peptide (histamine-succinyl-GSYK, Him) was synthesized for phage displayed scFv affinity selection and for conjugation with cypate (Cy-Him) for in vivo near-infrared (NIR) optical imaging. Hapten-specific scFvs were affinity selected from the human single fold phage display scFv libraries (Tomlinson I + J) with high specificity and affinity. Utilizing HER2 targeting as a model system, the highest affinity scFv (clone J42) was recombinantly fused to an anti-HER2 affibody (scFv-L-Aff) with no loss of affinity of either protein. The functionality of the hapten-scFv reporter system was tested in vitro with a HER2-positive human breast cancer cell line, SK-BR3, and in vivo with SK-BR3 xenografts. ScFv-L-Aff mediated the binding of the hapten to HER2 on SK-BR3 cells and from tissue from the SK-BR3 xenograft; however, scFv-L-Aff did not mediate uptake of the hapten in the SK-BR3 xenografted tumors, presumably due to rapid internalization of the HER2/scFv-L-Aff complex. Our results suggest that this hapten-peptide and anti-hapten scFv can be a universal reporter system in a wide range of imaging and therapeutic applications.