In the early 90’s, Hamers group in Bruxelles discovered that camelids (llama, dromedary, camel) possess simultaneously two different kind of immunoglobulins (Ig) : the classical ones, composed of a light chain of two Ig domains and a heavy chain with four such domains, and a new type of Igs with only a heavy chain of three Ig domains. Practically, the antigen recognition module of camelid Igs is a unique Ig domain (called VHH or nanobody) in which the hydrophobic VH-VL interface is replaced by a hydrophilic surface, thanks to the framework mutations Gly44Glu and Leu45Arg . The innate supremacy of nanobodies as a renewable source of affinity reagents, together with their high production yield in a broad variety of expression systems, minimal size, great stability, reversible refolding and outstanding solubility in aqueous solutions, and ability to specifically recognize unique epitopes with subnanomolar affinity, have combined to make them a useful class of biomolecules for research and various medical diagnostic and therapeutic applications .
The project sets up a recombinant protein production and purification unit in USTH and transfers an up-to-date nanobody technology of interest for the development of therapeutic tools. Nanobodies, a novel class of therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, could be valuable for a range of serious human diseases, including haematology, inflammation, oncology and pulmonary. These proteins possess a small size, unique structure and extreme stability, thus they combine the advantages of conventional antibody drugs with the features of small-molecule drugs. The tight collaboration between French and Vietnamese scientists would push up the project to successfully produce and purify nanobodies of interest in Vietnam as potential drug candidates.
PI : Alain ROUSSEL, AFMB, CNRS-AMU
Co-PI : DONG Van Quyen, IBT-VAST
Co-PI : NGUYEN Thi Van Anh, USTH
Christian CAMBILLAU, AFMB, CNRS-AMU
Christine KELLENBERGER, AFMB, CNRS-AMU
LY Thi Bich Thuy, IBT-VAST
TRAN Thi Ly, USTH