Fusion to a highly charged proteasomal retargeting sequence increases soluble cytoplasmic expression and efficacy of diverse anti-synuclein intrabodies. Academic Article uri icon


  • Intrabodies can be powerful reagents to effect modulation of aberrant intracellular proteins that underlie a range of diseases. However, their cytoplasmic solubility can be limiting. We previously reported that overall charge and hydrophilicity can be combined to provide initial estimates of intracellular solubility, and that charge engineering via fusion can alter solubility properties experimentally. Additional studies showed that fusion of a proteasome-targeting PEST motif to the anti-huntingtin intrabody scFv-C4 can degrade mutant huntingtin proteins by directing them to the proteasome, while also increasing the negative charge. We now validate the generality of this approach with intrabodies against ?-synuclein (?-syn), an important target in Parkinson disease. In this study, fusion of the PEST sequence to a set of four diverse, poorly soluble anti-?-syn intrabodies (D5E, 10H, D10 scFv, VH14 nanobody) significantly increased steady-state soluble intrabody protein levels in all cases, despite fusion with the PEST proteasomal-targeting signal. Furthermore, adding this PEST motif to the least soluble construct, VH14, significantly enhanced degradation of the target protein, ?-syn~GFP. The intrabody-PEST fusion approach thus has dual advantages of potentially solubilizing intrabodies and enhancing their functionality in parallel. Empirical testing of intrabody-PEST fusions is recommended for enhancement of intrabody solubility from diverse sources.

publication date

  • November 2012

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