Jennifer R Cochran

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States

Publications (16)131.12 Total impact

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is involved in stimulating the growth of many human tumors, but the success of therapeutic agents has been limited in part by interference from the EGFR on normal tissues. Previously, we reported an antibody (mab806) against a truncated form of EGFR found commonly in gliomas. Remarkably, it also recognizes full-length EGFR on tumor cells but not on normal cells. However, the mechanism for this activity was unclear. Crystallographic structures for Fab:EGFR(287-302) complexes of mAb806 (and a second, related antibody, mAb175) show that this peptide epitope adopts conformations similar to those found in the wtEGFR. However, in both conformations observed for wtEGFR, tethered and untethered, antibody binding would be prohibited by significant steric clashes with the CR1 domain. Thus, these antibodies must recognize a cryptic epitope in EGFR. Structurally, it appeared that breaking the disulfide bond preceding the epitope might allow the CR1 domain to open up sufficiently for antibody binding. The EGFR(C271A/C283A) mutant not only binds mAb806, but binds with 1:1 stoichiometry, which is significantly greater than wtEGFR binding. Although mAb806 and mAb175 decrease tumor growth in xenografts displaying mutant, overexpressed, or autocrine stimulated EGFR, neither antibody inhibits the in vitro growth of cells expressing wtEGFR. In contrast, mAb806 completely inhibits the ligand-associated stimulation of cells expressing EGFR(C271A/C283A). Clearly, the binding of mAb806 and mAb175 to the wtEGFR requires the epitope to be exposed either during receptor activation, mutation, or overexpression. This mechanism suggests the possibility of generating antibodies to target other wild-type receptors on tumor cells.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2009; 106(13):5082-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have engineered human epidermal growth factor (EGF) by directed evolution through yeast surface display for significantly enhanced affinity for the EGF receptor (EGFR). Statistical analysis of improved EGF mutants isolated from randomly mutated yeast-displayed libraries indicates that mutations are biased towards substitutions at positions exhibiting significant phylogenetic variation. In particular, mutations in high-affinity EGF mutants are statistically biased towards residues found in orthologous EGF species. This same trend was also observed with other proteins engineered through directed evolution in our laboratory (EGFR, interleukin-2) and in a meta-analysis of reported results for engineered subtilisin. By contrast, reported loss-of-function mutations in EGF were biased towards highly conserved positions. Based on these findings, orthologous mutations were introduced into a yeast-displayed EGF library by a process we term shotgun ortholog scanning mutagenesis (SOSM). EGF mutants with a high frequency of the introduced ortholog mutations were isolated through screening the library for enhanced binding affinity to soluble EGFR ectodomain. These mutants possess a 30-fold increase in binding affinity over wild-type EGF to EGFR-transfected fibroblasts and are among the highest affinity EGF proteins to be engineered to date. Collectively, our findings highlight a general approach for harnessing information present in phylogenetic variability to create useful genetic diversity for directed evolution. Our SOSM method exploits the benefits of library diversity obtained through complementary methods of error-prone PCR and DNA shuffling, while circumventing the need for acquisition of multiple genes for family or synthetic shuffling.
    Protein Engineering Design and Selection 07/2006; 19(6):245-53. · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The extracellular domain of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR-ECD) has been engineered through directed evolution and yeast surface display using conformationally-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as screening probes for proper folding and functional expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. An EGFR mutant with four amino acid changes exhibited binding to the conformationally-specific mAbs and human epidermal growth factor, and showed increased soluble secretion efficiency compared with wild-type EGFR. Full-length EGFR containing the mutant EGFR-ECD was functional, as assayed by EGF-dependent autophosphorylation and intracellular MAPK signaling in mammalian cells, and was expressed and localized at the plasma membrane in yeast. This approach should enable engineering of other complex mammalian receptor glycoproteins in yeast for genetic, structural, and biophysical studies.
    Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 04/2006; 62(4):1026-35. · 3.34 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Ginger Chao, Jennifer R. Cochran, K. Dane Wittrup
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 03/2005; 346(5):1455.
  • Ginger Chao, Jennifer R Cochran, K Dane Wittrup
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Fine epitope mapping of therapeutically relevant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was accomplished through random mutagenesis and yeast surface display. Using this method, we have identified key residues energetically important for the binding of EGFR to the mAbs 806, 225, and 13A9. A yeast-displayed library of single point mutants of an EGFR ectodomain fragment (residues 273-621) was constructed by random mutagenesis and was screened for reduced binding to EGFR mAbs. If an EGFR mutant showed loss of binding to a mAb, this suggested that the mutated residue was potentially a contact residue. The mAb 806 binding epitope was localized to one face of a loop comprised of EGFR residues Cys287-Cys302, which is constrained by a disulfide bond and two salt bridges. The mAb 806 epitope as identified here is not fully accessible in the autoinhibited EGFR monomer conformation, which is consistent with the hypothesis that mAb 806 binds to a transitional form of EGFR as it changes from an autoinhibited to extended monomer. The amino acids Lys465 and Ile467 were identified as energetic hot spot residues for mAb 225 binding to EGFR. These residues are adjacent to the EGFR ligand-binding site, which is consistent with the ability of mAb 225 to block binding of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) ligands. Ser468 and Glu472 were identified as energetically important for mAb 13A9 binding to EGFR, and the location of this epitope suggests that mAb 13A9 mediates observed TGF-alpha blocking effects through conformational perturbation of EGFR domain III. Combinatorial library screening of yeast-displayed mutagenic proteins is a novel method to identify discontinuous and heat-denaturable mAb binding epitopes with residue-level resolution.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2004; 342(2):539-50. · 3.91 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in many epithelial cancers, an observation often correlated with poor clinical outcome. Overexpression of the EGFR is commonly caused by EGFR gene amplification and is sometimes associated with expression of a variant EGFR (de2-7 EGFR or EGFRvIII) bearing an internal deletion in its extracellular domain. Monoclonal antibody (mAb) 806 is a novel EGFR antibody with significant antitumor activity that recognizes both the de2-7 EGFR and a subset of the wild type (wt) EGFR when overexpressed but does not bind the wt EGFR expressed in normal tissues. Despite only binding to a low proportion of the wt EGFR expressed in A431 tumor cells (approximately 10%), mAb 806 displays robust antitumor activity against A431 xenografts grown in nude mice. To elucidate the mechanism leading to its unique specificity and mode of antitumor activity, we have determined the EGFR binding epitope of mAb 806. Analysis of mAb 806 binding to EGFR fragments expressed either on the surface of yeast or in an immunoblot format identified a disulfide-bonded loop (amino acids 287-302) that contains the mAb 806 epitope. Indeed, mAb 806 binds with apparent high affinity (approximately 30 nm) to a synthetic EGFR peptide corresponding to these amino acids. Analysis of EGFR structures indicates that the epitope is fully exposed only in the transitional form of the receptor that occurs because EGFR changes from the inactive tethered conformation to a ligand-bound active form. It would seem that mAb 806 binds this small proportion of transient receptors, preventing their activation, which in turn generates a strong antitumor effect. Finally, our observations suggest that the generation of antibodies to transitional forms of growth factor receptors may represent a novel way of reducing normal tissue targeting yet retaining antitumor activity.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2004; 279(29):30375-84. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individual domains from extracellular proteins are potential reagents for biochemical characterization of ligand/receptor interactions and antibody binding sites. Here, we describe an approach for the identification and characterization of stable protein domains with cell surface display in Saccharomyces cerevesiae, using the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a model system. Fragments of the EGFR were successfully expressed on the yeast cell surface. The yeast-displayed EGFR fragments were properly folded, as assayed with conformationally specific EGFR antibodies. Heat denaturation of yeast-displayed EGFR proteins distinguished between linear and conformational antibody epitopes. In addition, EGFR-specific antibodies were categorized based on their ability to compete ligand binding, which has been shown to have therapeutic implications. Overlapping EGFR antibody epitopes were determined based on a fluorescent competitive binding assay. Yeast surface display is a useful method for identifying stable folded protein domains from multidomain extracellular receptors, as well as characterizing antibody binding epitopes, without the need for soluble protein expression and purification.
    Journal of Immunological Methods 05/2004; 287(1-2):147-58. · 2.23 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A nonimmune library of 10(9) human antibody scFv fragments has been cloned and expressed on the surface of yeast, and nanomolar-affinity scFvs routinely obtained by magnetic bead screening and flow-cytometric sorting. The yeast library can be amplified 10(10)-fold without measurable loss of clonal diversity, allowing its effectively indefinite expansion. The expression, stability, and antigen-binding properties of >50 isolated scFv clones were assessed directly on the yeast cell surface by immunofluorescent labeling and flow cytometry, obviating separate subcloning, expression, and purification steps and thereby expediting the isolation of novel affinity reagents. The ability to use multiplex library screening demonstrates the usefulness of this approach for high-throughput antibody isolation for proteomics applications.
    Nature Biotechnology 02/2003; 21(2):163-70. · 32.44 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: T cell receptor (TCR)-mediated activation of CD4(+) T cells is known to require multivalent engagement of the TCR by, for example, oligomeric peptide-MHC complexes. In contrast, for CD8(+) T cells, there is evidence for TCR-mediated activation by univalent engagement of the TCR. We have here compared oligomeric and monomeric L(d) and K(b) peptide-MHC complexes and free peptide as stimulators of CD8(+) T cells expressing the 2C TCR. We found that the monomers are indeed effective in activating naive and effector CD8(+) T cells, but through an unexpected mechanism that involves transfer of peptide from soluble monomers to T cell endogenous MHC (K(b)) molecules. The result is that T cells, acting as antigen-presenting cells, are able to activate other naive T cells.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2002; 99(21):13729-34. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Source
    J D Stone, J R Cochran, L J Stern
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: T-cell activation is essential for initiation and control of immune system function. T cells are activated by interaction of cell-surface antigen receptors with major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins on the surface of other cells. Studies using soluble oligomers of MHC-peptide complexes and other types of receptor cross-linking agents have supported an activation mechanism that involves T cell receptor clustering. Receptor clustering induced by incubation of T cells with MHC-peptide oligomers leads to the induction of T-cell activation processes, including downregulation of engaged receptors and upregulation of the cell-surface proteins CD69 and CD25. Dose-response curves for these T-cell activation markers are bell-shaped, with different maxima and midpoints, depending on the valency of the soluble oligomer used. In this study, we have analyzed the activation behavior using a mathematical model that describes the binding of multivalent ligands to cell-surface receptors. We show that a simple equilibrium binding model accurately describes the activation data for CD4(+) T cells treated with MHC-peptide oligomers of varying valency. The model can be used to predict activation and binding behavior for T cells and MHC oligomers with different properties.
    Biophysical Journal 12/2001; 81(5):2547-57. · 3.67 Impact Factor
  • Trends in Immunology 10/2001; 22(9):479-80. · 9.49 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Engagement of antigen receptors on the surface of T-cells with peptides bound to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins triggers T-cell activation in a mechanism involving receptor oligomerization. Receptor dimerization by soluble MHC oligomers is sufficient to induce several characteristic activation processes in T-cells including internalization of engaged receptors and up-regulation of cell surface proteins. In this work, the influence of intermolecular orientation within the activating receptor dimer was studied. Dimers of class II MHC proteins coupled in a variety of orientations and topologies each were able to activate CD4+ T-cells, indicating that triggering was not dependent on a particular receptor orientation. In contrast to the minimal influence of receptor orientation, T-cell triggering was affected by the inter-molecular distance between MHC molecules, and MHC dimers coupled through shorter cross-linkers were consistently more potent than those coupled through longer cross-linkers. These results are consistent with a mechanism in which intermolecular receptor proximity, but not intermolecular orientation, is the key determinant for antigen-induced CD4+ T-cell activation.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2001; 276(30):28068-74. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: T cells are activated via engagement of their cell-surface receptors with molecules of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) displayed on another cell surface. This process, which is a key step in the recognition of foreign antigens by the immune system, involves oligomerization of receptor components. Recent characterization of the T-cell response to soluble arrays of MHC-peptide complexes has provided insights into the triggering mechanism for T-cell activation.
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences 06/2001; 26(5):304-10. · 13.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Class I MHC tetramers have proven to be invaluable tools for following and deciphering the CD8(+) T cell response, but the development of similar reagents for detection of CD4(+) T cells based on class II MHC proteins has been more difficult. We evaluated fluorescent streptavidin-based oligomers of HLA-DR1 for use as reagents to analyze Ag-specific human CD4(+) T cells. Staining was blocked at low temperatures and by drugs that disrupt microfilament formation and endocytosis. Cell-associated MHC oligomers were resistant to a surface stripping protocol and were observed by microscopy in intracellular compartments. This behavior indicates that detection of CD4(+) T cells using class II MHC oligomers can depend on an active cellular process in which T cells cluster and/or endocytose their Ag receptors. T cells of identical specificity but in different activation states varied greatly in their ability to be detected by class II MHC oligomers.
    The Journal of Immunology 02/2001; 166(2):741-5. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    J R Cochran, L J Stern
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: T-cells are activated by engagement of their clonotypic cell surface receptors with peptide complexes of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins, in a poorly understood process that involves receptor clustering on the membrane surface. Few tools are available to study the molecular mechanisms responsible for initiation of activation processes in T-cells. A topologically diverse set of oligomers of the human MHC protein HLA-DR1, varying in size from dimers to tetramers, was produced by varying the location of an introduced cysteine residue and the number and spacing of sulfhydryl-reactive groups carried on novel and commercially available cross-linking reagents. Fluorescent probes incorporated into the cross-linking reagents facilitated measurement of oligomer binding to the T-cell surface. Oligomeric MHC-peptide complexes, including a variety of MHC dimers, trimers and tetramers, bound to T-cells and initiated T-cell activation processes in an antigen-specific manner. T-cell receptor dimerization on the cell surface is sufficient to initiate intracellular signaling processes, as a variety of MHC-peptide dimers differing in intramolecular spacing and orientation were each able to trigger early T-cell activation events. The relative binding affinities within a homologous series of MHC-peptide oligomers suggest that T-cell receptors may rearrange in the plane of the membrane concurrent with oligomer binding.
    Chemistry & Biology 10/2000; 7(9):683-96. · 6.16 Impact Factor
  • Source
    J R Cochran, T O Cameron, L J Stern
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A series of novel chemically defined soluble oligomers of the human MHC class II protein HLA-DR1 was constructed to probe the molecular requirements for initiation of T cell activation. MHC dimers, trimers, and tetramers stimulated T cells, as measured by upregulation of the activation markers CD69 and CD25, and by internalization of activated T cell receptor subunits. Monomeric MHC-peptide complexes engaged T cell receptors but did not induce activation. For a given amount of receptor engagement, the extent of activation was equivalent for each of the oligomers and correlated with the number of T cell receptor cross-links induced. These results suggest that formation or rearrangement of a T cell receptor dimer is necessary and sufficient for initiation of T cell signaling.
    Immunity 04/2000; 12(3):241-50. · 19.80 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

748 Citations
131.12 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2009
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • • Department of Chemical Engineering
      • • Department of Biological Engineering
      • • Department of Chemistry
      Cambridge, MA, United States
  • 2003
    • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
      • Biological Sciences Division
      Richland, WA, United States