Understanding the Significance and Implications of Antibody Numbering and Antigen-Binding Surface/Residue Definition
Frontiers in Immunology
Monoclonal antibodies are playing an increasing role in both human and animal health. Different strategies of protein and chemical engineering, including humanization techniques of non-human antibodies were applied successfully to optimize clinical performances of antibodies. Despite the emergence of techniques allowing the development of fully human antibodies such as transgenic Xeno-mice, antibody humanization remains a standard procedure for therapeutic antibodies. An important prerequisite
... or antibody humanization requires standardized numbering methods to define precisely complementary determining regions (CDR), frameworks and residues from the light and heavy chains that affect the binding affinity and/or specificity of the antibody-antigen interaction. The recently generated deep-sequencing data and the increasing number of solved three-dimensional structures of antibodies from human and non-human origins have led to the emergence of numerous databases. However, these different databases use different numbering conventions and CDR definitions. In addition, the large fluctuation of the variable chain lengths, especially in CDR3 of heavy chains (CDRH3), hardly complicates the comparison and analysis of antibody sequences and the identification of the antigen binding residues. This review compares and discusses the different numbering schemes and "CDR" definition that were established up to date. Furthermore, it summarizes concepts and strategies used for numbering residues of antibodies and CDR residues identification. Finally, it discusses the importance of specific sets of residues in the binding affinity and/or specificity of immunoglobulins.