Theses Doctoral

Building a Genetic System in Yeast to Search for High Affinity Proteins in Sequence Space

Merguerian, Matthew Douglas

Binding proteins (both natural and man-made) have the ability to bind tightly and specifically with small molecules and other biopolymers. Binding proteins can function as human therapeutics, diagnostics, and as tools for scientific research. Given the wide range of potential applications, there is great interest in both academia and industry to develop methods for discovering novel binders.

An important step in discovering new binders is called affinity maturation, when an initial hit that shows some ability to bind the target is further mutated in additional steps to improve binding affinity, specificity, solubility, pharmacokinetic profile. Ideally, the methods for affinity maturation would allow for cookbook protocols, be successful for arbitrary targets of interest, and be minimally resource intensive. Although traditional methods for affinity maturation have had some stunning successes over the past, the state of the field is still far from this ideal.

In Chapter 1, I discuss the current state of the protein engineering field. In Chapter 2, I discuss the use of phenotypic selection for yeast-display protein binders, and test these systems on simple loop libraries. In Chapter 3, I construct a genetic system in yeast that can mutate a protein loop via homologous recombination, and test its recombination function. In Chapter 4, I mate libraries that target two different loops, and run FACS on the combinatorial libraries. In Chapter 5, I discuss future directions for the project.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Cornish, Virginia W.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 21, 2013