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    Orthologous proteins contain sequence disparity guided by natural selection. In certain cases, species-specific protein functionality predicts pharmacological enhancement, such as greater specific activity or stability. However, immunological barriers generally preclude use of nonhuman proteins as therapeutics, and difficulty exists in the identification of individual sequence determinants among the overall sequence disparity. Ancestral sequence reconstruction (ASR) represents a platform for the prediction and resurrection of ancient gene and protein sequences. Recently, we demonstrated that ASR can be used as a platform to facilitate the identification of therapeutic protein variants with enhanced properties. Specifically, we identified coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) variants with improved specific activity, biosynthesis, stability, and resistance to anti-human FVIII antibody-based inhibition. In the current study, we resurrected a panel of ancient mammalian coagulation factor IX (FIX) variants with the goal of identifying improved pharmaceutical candidates. One variant (An96) demonstrated 12-fold greater FIX activity production than human FIX. Addition of the R338L Padua substitution further increased An96 activity, suggesting independent but additive mechanisms. after adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2)/8-FIX gene therapy, 10-fold greater plasma FIX activity was observed in hemophilia B mice administered AAV2/8-An96-Padua as compared with AAV2/8-human FIX-Padua. Furthermore, phenotypic correction conferred by the ancestral variant was confirmed using a saphenous vein bleeding challenge and thromboelastography. Collectively, these findings validate the ASR drug discovery platform as well as identify an ancient FIX candidate for pharmaceutical development. © 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.


    Kristopher A Knight, Christopher W Coyle, Caelan E Radford, Ernest T Parker, Andrew Fedanov, Jordan M Shields, Fania Szlam, Anatolii Purchel, Michelle Chen, Gabriela Denning, Roman M Sniecinski, Pete Lollar, H Trent Spencer, Eric A Gaucher, Christopher B Doering. Identification of coagulation factor IX variants with enhanced activity through ancestral sequence reconstruction. Blood advances. 2021 Sep 14;5(17):3333-3343

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    PMID: 34477814

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