Chemical and Structural Analysis of an Antibody Folding Intermediate Trapped during Glycan Biosynthesis
Human IgG Fc glycosylation modulates immunological effector functions such as antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and phagocytosis. Engineering of Fc glycans therefore enables fine-tuning of the therapeutic properties of monoclonal antibodies. The N-linked glycans of Fc are typically complex-type, forming a network of noncovalent interactions along the protein surface of the C?2 domain. Here, we manipulate the mammalian glycan-processing pathway to trap IgG1 Fc at sequential stages of maturation, from oligomannose- to hybrid- to complex-type glycans, and show that the Fc is structurally stabilized following the transition of glycans from their hybrid- to complex-type state. X-ray crystallographic analysis of this hybrid-type intermediate reveals that N-linked glycans undergo conformational changes upon maturation, including a flip within the trimannosyl core. Our crystal structure of this intermediate reveals a molecular basis for antibody biogenesis and provides a template for the structure-guided engineering of the protein?glycan interface of therapeutic antibodies.