Magnetic Bead-Immobilized Mammalian Cells Are Effective Targets to Enrich Ligand-Displaying Yeast

Patrick S. Lown, Benjamin J. Hackel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Yeast surface display empowers selection of protein binding ligands, typically using recombinant soluble antigens. However, ectodomain fragments of transmembrane targets may fail to recapitulate their true, membrane-bound form. Direct selections against adhered mammalian cells empower enrichment of genuine binders yet benefit from high target expression, robustly adherent mammalian cells, and nanomolar affinity ligands. This study evaluates a modified format with mammalian cells immobilized to magnetic beads; yeast-displayed fibronectin domain and affibody ligands of known affinities and cells with expression ranges of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and CD276 elucidate important parameters to ligand enrichment and yield in cell suspension panning with comparison to adherent panning. Cell suspension panning is hindered by significant background of nondisplaying yeast but exhibits yield advantages in model EGFR systems for a high affinity (KD = 2 nM) binder on cells with both high (106 per cell) target expression (9.6 ± 0.6% vs 3.2 ± 0.4%, p < 0.0001) and mid (105) target expression (2.3 ± 0.5% vs 0.41 ± 0.09%, p = 0.0008), as well as for a low affinity (KD > 600 nM) binder on high target expression cells (2.0 ± 0.5% vs 0.017 ± 0.005%; p = 0.001). Significant enrichment was observed for all EGFR systems except the low-affinity, high expression system. The CD276 system failed to provide significant enrichment, indicating that this technique may not be suitable for all targets. Collectively, this study highlights new approaches that yield successful enrichment of yeast-displayed ligands via panning on immobilized mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-284
Number of pages11
JournalACS Combinatorial Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 11 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We appreciate research support from the American Cancer Society (130418-RSG-17-110-01-TBG) and the National Institutes of Health (R01 EB023339, R01 EB028274).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • biopanning
  • cell suspension panning
  • epidermal growth factor receptor
  • ligand
  • protein engineering
  • yeast display

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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