The integration of ProxiMAX randomisation with CIS display for the production of novel peptides

  • Andrew Poole

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Saturation mutagenesis is a powerful tool in modern protein engineering, which permits key residues within a protein to be targeted in order to potentially enhance specific functionalities. However, the creation of large libraries using conventional saturation mutagenesis with degenerate codons (NNN or NNK/S) has inherent redundancy and consequent disparities in codon representation. Therefore, both chemical (trinucleotide phosphoramidites) and biological methods (sequential, enzymatic single codon additions) of non-degenerate saturation mutagenesis have been developed in order to combat these issues and so improve library quality. Large libraries with multiple saturated positions can be limited by the method used to screen them. Although the traditional screening method of choice, cell-dependent methods, such as phage display, are limited by the need for transformation. A number of cell-free screening methods, such as CIS display, which link the screened phenotype with the encoded genotype, have the capability of screening libraries with up to 1014 members.
This thesis describes the further development of ProxiMAX technology to reduce library codon bias and its integration with CIS display to screen the resulting library. Synthetic MAX oligonucleotides are ligated to an acceptor base sequence, amplified, and digested, subsequently adding a randomised codon to the acceptor, which forms an iterative cycle using the digested product of the previous cycle as the base sequence for the next. Initial use of ProxiMAX
highlighted areas of the process where changes could be implemented in order to improve the codon representation in the final library. The refined process was used to construct a monomeric anti-NGF peptide library, based on two proprietary dimeric peptides (Isogenica) that bind NGF. The resulting library showed greatly improved codon representation that equated to a theoretical diversity of ~69%. The library was subsequently screened using CIS display and the discovered peptides assessed for NGF-TrkA inhibition by ELISA. Despite binding to TrkA, these peptides showed lower levels of inhibition of the NGF-TrkA interaction than the parental dimeric peptides, highlighting the importance of dimerization for inhibition of NGF-TrkA binding.
Date of Award4 Mar 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAnna V. Hine (Supervisor)


  • non-degenerate
  • saturation mutagenesis
  • anti-NGF
  • codon randomisation

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