We have characterized a simplified method to determine the relative thermal stability of single-chain antibodies by following the irreversible denaturation of scFv fusions on the surface of yeast by flow cytometry. The method was highly reproducible and correlated well with other methods used to monitor thermal denaturation of the soluble proteins. We found a range of thermal stabilities for wild-type single-chain antibodies with half-maximum denaturation temperatures between 43 and 61°C. The ability to quantitate thermal stability of antibodies or other proteins that are immobilized on the surface of yeast allows rapid comparisons of primary structural information with stability. Thermal denaturation could be a useful parameter to consider in the choice of scFv fragments for various applications.
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