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High-Pressure, Low-Temperature Induced Unfolding and Aggregation of Monoclonal Antibodies: Role of the Fc and Fab Fragments

June 8, 2022

The Journal of Physical Chemistry B| June 8, 2022

Jordan E. Berger, Susana C. M. Teixeira, Kaelan Reed, Vladimir I. Razinkov, Christopher J. Sloey, Wei Qi, and Christopher J. Roberts

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcb.1c10528

ABSTRACT: The effects of high pressure and low temperature on the stability of two different monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were examined in this work. Fluorescence and small-angle neutron scattering were used to monitor the in situ effects of pressure to infer shifts in tertiary structure and characterize aggregation-prone intermediates. Partial unfolding was observed for both MAbs, to different extents, under a range of pressure/temperature conditions. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was also used to monitor ex-situ changes in secondary structure. Preservation of native secondary structure after incubation at elevated pressures and subzero ° C temperatures was independent of the extent of tertiary unfolding and reversibility. Several combinations of pressure and temperature were also used to discern the respective contributions of the isolated Ab fragments (Fab and Fc) to unfolding and aggregation. The fragments for each antibody showed significantly different partial unfolding profiles and reversibility.

There was not a simple correlation between the stability of the full MAb and either the Fc or Fab fragment stabilities across all cases, demonstrating a complex relationship to full MAb unfolding and aggregation behavior. That notwithstanding, the combined use of spectroscopic and scattering techniques provides insights into MAb conformational stability and hysteresis in high-pressure, low-temperature environments.

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