Directed evolution of a stable scaffold for T-cell receptor engineering

Eric V. Shusta, Phillp D. Holler, Michele C. Kieke, David M. Kranz, K. Dane Wittrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Here we have constructed a single-chain T-cell receptor (scTCR) scaffold with high stability and soluble expression efficiency by directed evolution and yeast surface display. We evolved scTCRs in parallel for either enhanced resistance to thermal denaturation at 46 °C, or improved intracellular processing at 37 °C, with essentially equivalent results. This indicates that the efficiency of the consecutive kinetic processes of membrane translocation, protein folding, quality control, and vesicular transport can be well predicted by the single thermodynamic parameter of thermal stability. Selected mutations were recombined to create an scTCR scaffold that was stable for over an hour at 65 °C, had solubility of over 4 mg ml(·1), and shake-flask expression levels of 7.5 mg I-1, while retaining specific ligand binding to peptide-major histocompatibility complexes (pMHCs) and bacterial superantigen. These properties are comparable to those for stable single-chain antibodies, but are markedly improved over existing scTCR constructs. Availability of this scaffold allows engineering of high-affinity soluble scTCRs as antigen-specific antagonists of cell-mediated immunity. Moreover, yeast displaying the scTCR formed specific conjugates with antigen- presenting cells (APCs), which could allow development of novel cell-to-cell selection strategies for evolving scTCRs with improved binding to various pMHC ligands in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2000


  • Directed evolution
  • Stability maturation
  • T-cell receptor
  • Yeast display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Directed evolution of a stable scaffold for T-cell receptor engineering'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this