An improved linker for single-chain Fv with reduced aggregation and enhanced proteolytic stability

Protein Eng. 1993 Nov;6(8):989-95. doi: 10.1093/protein/6.8.989.


The effects of linker length on binding affinity and degree of aggregation have been examined in the antifluorescein 4-4-20 and anticarcinoma CC49 single-chain Fvs. Longer linkers in the antifluorescein sFvs have higher affinities for fluorescein and aggregate less. A proteolytically susceptible site between Lys8 and Ser9, in the previously reported 212 linker has been identified. A new linker sequence, 218 (GSTSGSGKPGSGEGSTKG) was designed in which a proline was placed at the C-terminal side of the proteolytic clip site in the 212 linker. The CC49 sFv containing the 218 linker showed reduced aggregation and was found to be more stable to proteolysis in vitro, when compared to the CC49/212 sFv. The CC49 sFv with the longer 218 linker had higher affinity than CC49/212 sFv. An aggregated CC49/212 sFv sample had higher affinity than CC49/218 sFv. The CC49/218 and CC49/212 sFvs had similar blood clearances in mice, while the aggregated CC49/212 sFv remained in circulation significantly longer. In mice bearing LS-174T human colon carcinoma xenografts, the CC49/218 sFv showed higher tumor uptake than the CC49/212 sFv and lower tumor uptake than the aggregated CC49/212 sFv. The higher tumor uptake of the CC49/218 is most likely a result of its higher resistance to proteolysis. The higher affinity and higher tumor uptake of the aggregated CC49/212 sFv are most likely due to the repetitive nature of the TAG-72 antigen and the higher avidity of multivalent aggregates. When the sFvs were radiolabeled with a lutetium-chelate the CC49/218 sFv showed a lower accumulation in the liver and spleen compared to the aggregated CC49/212 sFv.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / genetics*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Antibody Affinity
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / genetics*
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Glycoproteins
  • Immunoglobulin Fragments
  • immunoglobulin Fv
  • tumor-associated antigen 72