Effects of variable domain orientation on anti-HER2 single-chain variable fragment antibody expressed in the Escherichia coli cytoplasm

Koçer Kuloğlu İ., Cox E. C., Delisa M. P., Çelik E.

BIOTECHNOLOGY PROGRESS, vol.37, no.2, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/btpr.3102
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Applied Science & Technology Source, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, Compendex, Computer & Applied Sciences, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database
  • Keywords: anti&#8208, HER2, cytoplasmic expression, scFv, V-L, V-H orientation, RECEPTOR 2 HER2, BREAST-CANCER, FV ANTIBODY, PERIPLASM, ERBB2, FAB
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Single-chain variable fragment (scFv) antibodies have great potential for a range of applications including as diagnostic and therapeutic agents. However, production of scFvs is challenging because proper folding and activity depend on the formation of two intrachain disulfide bonds that do not readily form in the cytoplasm of living cells. Functional expression in bacteria therefore involves targeting to the more oxidizing periplasm, but yields in this compartment can be limiting due to secretion bottlenecks and the relatively small volume compared to the cytoplasm. In the present study, we evaluated an anti-HER2 scFv, which is specific for human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER2) overexpressed in breast cancer, for functional expression in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli strains BL21(DE3) and SHuffle T7 Express, the latter of which is genetically engineered for cytoplasmic disulfide bond formation. Specifically, we observed much greater solubility and binding activity with SHuffle T7 Express cells, which likely resulted from the more oxidative cytoplasm in this strain background. We also found that SHuffle T7 Express cells were capable of supporting high-level soluble production of anti-HER2 scFvs with intact disulfide bonds independent of variable domain orientation, providing further evidence that SHuffle T7 Express is a promising host for laboratory and preparative expression of functional scFv antibodies.