Generation of Affibody® ligands binding interleukin-2 receptor α/CD25

Caroline Grönwall, Eveline Snelders, Anna Jarelöv Palm, Fredrik Eriksson, Nina Herne, Stefan Ståhl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Affibody® molecules specific for human IL-2Rα, the IL-2 (interleukin-2) receptor α subunit, also known as CD25, were selected by phage-display technology from a combinatorial protein library based on the 58-residue Protein A-derived Z domain. The IL-2R system plays a major role in T-cell activation and the regulation of cellular immune responses. Moreover, CD25 has been found to be overexpressed in organ rejections, a number of autoimmune diseases and T-cell malignancies. The phage-display selection using Fc-fused target protein generated 16 unique Affibody® molecules targeting CD25. The two most promising binders were characterized in more detail using biosensor analysis and demonstrated strong and selective binding to CD25. Kinetic biosensor analysis revealed that the two monomeric Affibody® molecules bound to CD25 with apparent affinities of 130 and 240 nM respectively. The Affibody® molecules were, on biosensor analysis, found to compete for the same binding site as the natural ligand IL-2 and the IL-2 blocking monoclonal antibody 2A3. Hence the Affibody® molecules were assumed to have an overlapping binding site with IL-2 and antibodies targeting the IL-2 blocking Tac epitope (for example, the monoclonal antibodies Daclizumab and Basiliximab, both of which have been approved for therapeutic use). Furthermore, immunofluorescence microscopy and flow-cytometric analysis of CD25-expressing cells demonstrated that the selected Affibody® molecules bound to CD4 + CD25+ PMBCs (peripheral-blood mononuclear cells), the IL-2-dependent cell line NK92 and phytohaemagglutinin-activated PMBCs. The potential use of the CD25-binding Affibody® molecules as targeting agents for medical imaging and for therapeutic applications is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalBiotechnology and applied biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Affibody® molecule
  • Interleukin-2 receptor α (IL-2Rα/CD25)
  • Peripheral-blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)
  • Phage display
  • Protein engineering


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