Diversity in specificity of polyclonal antibody (pAb) responses is extensively investigated in vaccine efficacy or immunological evaluations, but the heterogeneity in antibody avidity is rarely probed as convenient tools are lacking. Here we have developed a polyclonal antibodies avidity resolution tool (PAART) for use with label-free techniques, such as surface plasmon resonance and biolayer interferometry, that can monitor pAb-antigen interactions in real time to measure dissociation rate constant (kd ) for defining avidity. PAART utilizes a sum of exponentials model to fit the dissociation time-courses of pAb-antigens interactions and resolve multiple kd contributing to the overall dissociation. Each kd value of pAb dissociation resolved by PAART corresponds to a group of antibodies with similar avidity. PAART is designed to identify the minimum number of exponentials required to explain the dissociation course and guards against overfitting of data by parsimony selection of best model using Akaike information criterion. Validation of PAART was performed using binary mixtures of monoclonal antibodies of same specificity but differing in kd of the interaction with their epitope. We applied PAART to examine the heterogeneity in avidities of pAb from malaria and typhoid vaccinees, and individuals living with HIV-1 that naturally control the viral load. In many cases, two to three kd were dissected indicating the heterogeneity of pAb avidities. We showcase examples of affinity maturation of vaccine induced pAb responses at component level and enhanced resolution of heterogeneity in avidity when antigen-binding fragments (Fab) are used instead of polyclonal IgG antibodies. The utility of PAART can be manifold in examining circulating pAb characteristics and could inform vaccine strategies aimed to guide the host humoral immune response.
RTS,S/AS01, Typbar TCV, Typhim, avidity, binning, biolayer interferometry (BLI), dissociation rate, polyclonal antibodies, Humans, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Immunity, Humoral, Antibody Affinity, Epitopes, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging