VH (heavy-chain variable region) and VL (light-chain variable region) genes were amplified by PCR from hybridomas producing MAb-11 and MAb-18 which inhibited Japanese radish acid phosphatase. Nucleotide sequencing of the V genes demonstrates that the MAbs contained similar VH and identical VL domains. Initially, the VH and VL genes were expressed in Escherichia coli as single-chain Fv (ScFv) fragments. Fragments ScFv-11 and ScFv-18, named for MAb-11 and MAb-18, respectively, inhibited the enzyme activity to the same extent as the intact MAbs. Both of the antibody fragments widely cross-reacted with other phosphatases, including some phosphomonoesterases and phosphodiesterases from different sources. ScFv-18 also inhibited acid phosphatase from a different origin, but stimulated the activity of alkaline phosphatase from calf intestine. The PCR-amplified VH and VL genes were subsequently expressed separately in Escherichia coli as fusion products with glutathione S-transferase. The fusion proteins had little effect on Japanese radish acid phosphatase. Furthermore, a large number of recombinant ScFv fragments specific to the acid phosphatase were generated by using a bacteriophage expression system and a mouse ScFv gene library. These ScFv fragments had a range of effects on the enzyme activity, including inhibition, stimulation, and none. Among them, an ScFv fragment, designated ScFv-G7, inhibited more strongly than ScFv-11 and ScFv-18.
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