Expression and Characterization of Human N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases and ${\alpha}$2,3-Sialyltransferase in Insect Cells for In Vitro Glycosylation of Recombinant Erythropoietin

  • Published : 2008.02.29


The glycans linked to the insect cell-derived glycoproteins are known to differ from those expressed in mammalian cells, partly because of the low level or lack of glycosyltransferase activities. GnT II, GnT IV, GnT V, and ST3Gal IV, which play important roles in the synthesis of tetraantennarytype complex glycan structures in mammalian cells, were overexpressed in Trichoplusia ni cells by using a baculovirus expression vector. The glycosyltransferases, expressed as a fusion form with the IgG-binding domain, were secreted into the culture media and purified using IgG sepharose resin. The enzyme assay, performed using a pyridylaminated-sugar chain as an acceptor, indicated that the purified glycosyltransferases retained their enzyme activities. Human erythropoietin expressed in T. ni cells (rhEPO) was subjected to in vitro glycosylation by using recombinant glycosyltransferases and was converted into complex-type glycan with terminal sialic acid. The presence of Nacetylglucosamine, galactose, and sialic acid on the rhEPO moiety was detected by a lectin blot analysis, and the addition of galactose and sialic acid to rhEPO was confirmed by autoradiography using $UDP-^{14}C-Gal\;and\;CMP-^{14}C-Sia$ as donors. The in vitro glycosylated rhEPO was injected into mice, and the number of reticulocytes among the ed blood cells was counted using FACS. A significant increase in the number of reticulocytes was not observed in the mice injected with in vitro glycosylated rhEPO as compared with those injected with rhEPO.


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