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J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 2008; 18(12): 1945-1952

Published online December 28, 2008

Copyright © The Korean Society for Microbiology and Biotechnology.

Enhanced Sialylation of Recombinant Erythropoietin in CHO Cells by Human Glycosyltransferase Expression

Jeong, Yeon Tae , One Choi , Hye Rim Lim , Young Dok Son , Hong Jin Kim 1 and Jung Hoe Kim 1*

Abstract

Sialylation, the attachment of sialic acid residues to a protein, can affect the biological activity and in vivo circulatory half-life of glycoproteins. Human ${\alpha}2$,3-sialyltransferase (${\alpha}2$,3-ST) and ${\beta}1$,4-galactosyltransferase (${\beta}1$,4-GT) are responsible for terminal sialylation and galactosylation, respectively. Enhanced sialylation of human erythropoietin (EPO) by the expression of ${\alpha}2$,3-ST and ${\beta}1$,4-GT was achieved using recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells (EC1). The sialic acid content and sialylation of N-glycans were evaluated by HPLC. When ${\alpha}2$,3-ST was expressed in CHO cells (EC1-ST2), the sialic acid content (moles of sialic acid/mole of EPO) increased from 6.7 to 7.5. In addition, the amount of trisialylated glycans increased from 17.3% to 26.1 %. When ${\alpha}2$,3-ST and ${\beta}1$,4-GT were coexpressed in CHO cells (EC1-GTST15), the degree of sialylation was greater than that in EC1-ST2 cells. In the case of EC1-GTST15 cells, the sialic acid content increased to 8.2 and the proportion of trisialylated glycans was markedly increased from 17.3% to 35.5%. Interestingly, the amount of asialoglycans decreased only in the case of GTST15 cells (21.4% to 14.2%). These results show that coexpression of ${\alpha}2$,3-ST and ${\beta}1$,4-GT is more effective than the expression of ${\alpha}2$,3-ST alone. Coexpression of ${\alpha}2$,3-ST and ${\beta}1$,4-GT did not affect CHO cell growth and metabolism or EPO production. Thus, coexpression of ${\alpha}2$,3-ST and ${\beta}1$,4-GT may be beneficial for producing therapeutic glycoproteins with enhanced sialylation in CHO cells.

Keywords: Glycosylation, sialylation, recombinant erythropoietin, sialyltransferase