Over the last decade, the potential of antibodies as therapeutic strategies to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been growing, based on successful experimental and clinical trials in transgenic mice. Despite, undesirable side effects in humans using an active immunization approach, immunotherapy still remains one of the most promising treatments for AD. In this study, we analyzed the V genes of twelve independently isolated monoclonal antibodies raised against the N-terminal immunodominant epitope of the amyloid β peptide (Aβ or A beta). Surprisingly, we found a high and unusual level of restriction in the VH/VL pairing of these antibodies. Moreover, these antibodies mostly differ in their heavy chain complementary determining region 3 (HCDR3) and the residues in the antibodies which contact Aβ are already present in the germline V-genes. Based on these observations and or co-crystal structures of antibodies with Aβ, the aim of the current study was to better understand the role of antibody V-domains, HCDR3 regions, key contact residue (H58) and germline encoded residues in Aβ recognition. For that purpose, we designed and produced a range of recombinant Fab constructs. All the Fabs were tested and compared by surface plasmon resonance on Aβ(1-16), Aβ(1-42) high molecular weight and Aβ(1-42) low molecular weight soluble oligomers. Although all the Fabs recognized the Aβ(1-16) peptide and the Aβ(1-42) high molecular weight soluble oligomers, they did not bind the Aβ(1-42) low molecular weight soluble oligomers. Furthermore, we demonstrated that: (1) an aromatic residue at position H58 in the antibody is essential in the recognition of Aβ and (2) Fabs based on germline V-genes bind to Aβ monomers with a low affinity. These findings may have important implications in designing more effective therapeutic antibodies against Aβ.
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