Characterization of poultry egg-white avidins and their potential as a tool in pretargeting cancer treatment

Vesa P. Hytönen, Olli H. Laitinen, Alessandro Grapputo, Anu Kettunen, Janne Savolainen, Nisse Kalkkinen, Ari T. Marttila, Henri R. Nordlund, Thomas K M Nyholm, Giovanni Paganelli, Markku S. Kulomaa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Chicken avidin and bacterial streptavidin are proteins used in a wide variety of applications in the life sciences due to their strong affinity for biotin. A new and promising use for them is in medical pretargeting cancer treatments. However, their pharmacokinetics and immunological properties are not always optimal, thereby limiting their use in these applications. To search for potentially beneficial new candidates, we screened egg white from four different poultry species for avidin. Avidin proteins, isolated from the duck, goose, ostrich and turkey, showed a similar tetrameric structure, similar glycosylation and stability against both temperature and proteolytic activity of proteinase K as chicken avidin. Biotin-binding properties of these avidins, measured using IAsys optical biosensor, were similar to those found in avidin from the chicken. Three of these novel avidins, however, showed different immunological cross-reactivities when compared with chicken avidin. The patient sera responses to duck, goose and ostrich avidins were also lower than those observed for chicken and turkey avidins. Our findings suggest that the use of these proteins offers advantages over chicken avidin and bacterial streptavidin in pretargeting applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-225
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 15 2003


  • Avidin-biotin technology
  • Biotin-binding protein
  • Cancer treatment
  • Immunoreactivity
  • Targeted drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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