Affimers as an Alternative to Antibodies in an Affinity LC-MS Assay for Quantification of the Soluble Receptor of Advanced Glycation End-Products (sRAGE) in Human Serum

Frank Klont, Marrit Hadderingh, Péter Horvatovich, Nick H T Ten Hacken, Rainer Bischoff

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Antibodies are indispensable tools in biomedical research, but their size, complexity, and sometimes lack of reproducibility created a need for the development of alternative binders to overcome these limitations. Affimers are a novel class of affinity binders based on a structurally robust protease inhibitor scaffold (i.e. Cystatin A), which are selected by phage display and produced in a rapid and simple E. coli protein expression system. These binders have a defined amino acid sequence with defined binding regions and are versatile thereby allowing for easy engineering. Here we present an affimer-based liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method for quantification of the soluble Receptor of Advanced Glycation End-products (sRAGE), a promising biomarker for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The method was validated according to European Medicines Agency and U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines and enabled quantitation of serum sRAGE between 0.2 and 10 ng/mL. Comparison between the affimer-based method and a previously developed, validated antibody-based method showed good correlation (R2 = 0.88), and indicated that 25% lower sRAGE levels are reported by the affimer-based assay. In conclusion, we show the first-time application of affimers in a quantitative LC-MS method, which supports the potential of affimers as robust alternatives to antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2892-2899
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number8
Early online date13-Jul-2018
Publication statusPublished - 3-Aug-2018


  • affimers
  • biomarker
  • COPD
  • immunoprecipitation
  • LC-MS
  • quantification
  • RAGE

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