Monitoring ligand-induced changes in receptor conformation with NanoBiT conjugated nanobodies

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. SoaveStephen Hill


Camelid single-domain antibody fragments (nanobodies) offer the specificity of an antibody in a single 15kDa immunoglobulin domain. Their small size allows for easy genetic manipulation of the nanobody sequence to incorporate protein tags, facilitating their use as biochemical probes. The nanobody VUN400, which recognises the second extracellular loop of the human CXCR4 chemokine receptor, was used as a probe to monitor specific CXCR4 conformations. VUN400 was fused via its C-terminus to the 11-amino acid HiBiT tag (VUN400-HiBiT) which complements to LgBiT protein, forming a full length functional NanoLuc luciferase. Here, complemented luminescence was used to detect VUN400-HiBiT binding to CXCR4 receptors expressed in living HEK293 cells. VUN400-HiBiT binding to CXCR4 could be prevented by orthosteric and allosteric ligands, allowing VUN400-HiBiT to be used as a probe to detect specific conformations of CXCR4. These data demonstrate that the high specificity offered by extracellular-targeted nanobodies can be utilised to probe receptor pharmacology.

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