Enhanced sialylation of recombinant human erythropoietin in Chinese hamster ovary cells by combinatorial engineering of selected genes

Son, Young-Dok; Jeong, Yeon Tae; Park, Seung-Yeol; Kim, Jung Hoe
August 2011
Glycobiology;Aug2011, Vol. 21 Issue 8, p1019
Academic Journal
Therapeutic glycoproteins with exposed galactose (Gal) residues are cleared rapidly from the bloodstream by asialoglycoprotein receptors in hepatocytes. Various approaches have been used to increase the content of sialic acid, which occupies terminal sites of N- or O-linked glycans and thereby increases the half-life of therapeutic glycoproteins. We enhanced sialylation of human erythropoietin (EPO) by genetic engineering of the sialylation pathway in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. The enzyme GNE (uridine diphosphate-N-acetyl glucosamine 2-epimerase)/MNK (N-acetyl mannosamine kinase), which plays a key role in the initial two steps of sialic acid biosynthesis, is regulated by cytidine monophosphate (CMP)-sialic acid through a feedback mechanism. Since sialuria patient cells fail in regulating sialic acid biosynthesis by feedback mechanism, various sialuria-like mutated rat GNEs were established and subjected to in vitro activity assay. GNE/MNK-R263L-R266Q mutant showed 93.6% relative activity compared with wild type and did not display feedback inhibition. Genes for sialuria-mutated rat GNE/MNK, Chinese hamster CMP-sialic acid transporter and human α2,3-sialyltransferase (α2,3-ST) were transfected simultaneously into recombinant human (rh) EPO-producing CHO cells. CMP-sialic acid concentration of engineered cells was significantly (>10-fold) increased by sialuria-mutated GNE/MNK (R263L-R266Q) expression. The sialic acid content of rhEPO produced from engineered cells was 43% higher than that of control cells. Ratio of tetra-sialylated glycan of rhEPO produced from engineered cells was increased ∼32%, but ratios of asialo- and mono-sialylated glycans were decreased ∼50%, compared with control. These findings indicate that sialuria-mutated rat GNE/MNK effectively increases the intracellular CMP-sialic acid level. The newly constructed host CHO cell lines produced more highly sialylated therapeutic glycoproteins through overexpression of sialuria-mutated GNE/MNK, CMP-SAT and α2,3-ST.


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