Cellular-Based Selections Aid Yeast-Display Discovery of Genuine Cell-Binding Ligands: Targeting Oncology Vascular Biomarker CD276

Lawrence A. Stern, Patrick S Lown, Alexandra C. Kobe, Lotfi Abou-Elkacem, Juergen K. Willmann, Benjamin J Hackel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Yeast surface display is a proven tool for the selection and evolution of ligands with novel binding activity. Selections from yeast surface display libraries against transmembrane targets are generally carried out using recombinant soluble extracellular domains. Unfortunately, these molecules may not be good models of their true, membrane-bound form for a variety of reasons. Such selection campaigns often yield ligands that bind a recombinant target but not target-expressing cells or tissues. Advances in cell-based selections with yeast surface display may aid the frequency of evolving ligands that do bind true, membrane-bound antigens. This study aims to evaluate ligand selection strategies using both soluble target-driven and cellular selection techniques to determine which methods yield translatable ligands most efficiently and generate novel binders against CD276 (B7-H3) and Thy1, two promising tumor vasculature targets. Out of four ligand selection campaigns carried out using only soluble extracellular domains, only an affibody library sorted against CD276 yielded translatable binders. In contrast, fibronectin domains against CD276 and affibodies against CD276 were discovered in campaigns that either combined soluble target and cellular selection methods or used cellular selection methods alone. A high frequency of non target-specific ligands discovered from the use of cellular selection methods alone motivated the development of a depletion scheme using disadhered, antigen-negative mammalian cells as a blocking agent. Affinity maturation of CD276-binding affibodies by error-prone PCR and helix walking resulted in strong, specific cellular CD276 affinity (K d = 0.9 ± 0.6 nM). Collectively, these results motivate the use of cellular selections in tandem with recombinant selections and introduce promising affibody molecules specific to CD276 for further applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-222
Number of pages16
JournalACS Combinatorial Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 11 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.


  • CD276
  • cell panning
  • ligand engineering
  • yeast display


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