, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 167-178

Solution properties ofEscherichia coli-expressed VH domain of anti-neuraminidase antibody NC41

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The VH domain of anti-influenza neuraminidase antibody NC41, with and without a C-terminal hydrophilic marker peptide (FLAGTM), has been expressed in high yield (15–27 mg/L) inEscherichia coli. Both forms were secreted into the periplasm where they formed insoluble aggregates which were solubilized quantitatively with 2 M guanidine hydrochloride and purified to homogeneity by ion-exchange chromatography. The VH-FLAG was composed of three isoforms (pI values of ∼4.6, 4.9, and 5.3) and the VH molecule was composed of two isoforms with pI values of 5.1 and 6.7; the difference between the VH isoforms was shown to be due to cyclization of the N-terminal glutamine residue in the pI 5.1 isoform. At 20°C and concentrations of 5–10mg/ml the VH domain dimerized in solution and then partly precipitated, resulting in the broadening of resonances in its1H NMR spectrum. Reagents such as CHAPS,n-octylglucoside, and ethylene glycol, which presumably mask the exposed hydrophobic interface of the VH molecule, prevented dimerization of the VH and permitted good-quality NMR spectra on isotope-labeled protein to be obtained.