Albumin-binding domain from Streptococcus zooepidemicus protein Zag as a novel strategy to improve the half-life of therapeutic proteins

Cátia Cantante, Sara Lourenço, Maurício Morais, João Leandro, Lurdes Gano, Nuno Silva, Paula Leandro, Mónica Serrano, Adriano O. Henriques, Ana Andre, Catarina Cunha-Santos, Carlos Fontes, João D.G. Correia, Frederico Aires-da-Silva, Joao Goncalves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Recombinant antibody fragments belong to the promising class of biopharmaceuticals with high potential for future therapeutic applications. However, due to their small size they are rapidly cleared from circulation. Binding to serum proteins can be an effective approach to improve pharmacokinetic properties of short half-life molecules. Herein, we have investigated the Zag albumin-binding domain (ABD) derived from Streptococcus zooepidemicus as a novel strategy to improve the pharmacokinetic properties of therapeutic molecules. To validate our approach, the Zag ABD was fused with an anti-TNFα single-domain antibody (sdAb). Our results demonstrated that the sdAb-Zag fusion protein was highly expressed and specifically recognizes human, rat and mouse serum albumins with affinities in the nanomolar range. Moreover, data also demonstrated that the sdAb activity against the therapeutic target (TNFα) was not affected when fused with Zag ABD. Importantly, the Zag ABD increased the sdAb half-life ∼39-fold (47 min for sdAb versus 31 h for sdAb-Zag). These findings demonstrate that the Zag ABD fusion is a promising approach to increase the half-life of small recombinant antibodies molecules without affecting their therapeutic efficacy. Moreover, the present study strongly suggests that the Zag ABD fusion strategy can be potentially used as a universal method to improve the pharmokinetics properties of many others therapeutics proteins and peptides in order to improve their dosing schedule and clinical effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2017


  • Albumin binding domain
  • Antibody engineering
  • Half-life extension
  • Recombinant antibodies
  • Streptococcus
  • ZAG protein


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