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Mechanism of antibody reduction in cell culture production processes

Authors

  • Yung-Hsiang Kao,

    Corresponding author
    1. Protein Analytical Chemistry, Genentech, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, California 94080; telephone: 650-225-8943; fax: 650-225-3554
    • Protein Analytical Chemistry, Genentech, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, California 94080; telephone: 650-225-8943; fax: 650-225-3554.
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  • Daniel P. Hewitt,

    1. Protein Analytical Chemistry, Genentech, 1 DNA Way, South San Francisco, California 94080; telephone: 650-225-8943; fax: 650-225-3554
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  • Melody Trexler-Schmidt,

    1. Late Stage Purification, Genentech, South San Francisco, California
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  • Michael W. Laird

    1. Late Stage Cell Culture, Genentech, South San Francisco, California
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Abstract

We recently observed a significant disulfide reduction problem during the scale-up of a manufacturing process for a therapeutic antibody using a CHO expression system. Under certain conditions, extensive reduction of inter-chain disulfide bonds of an antibody produced by CHO cell culture may occur during the harvest operations and/or the protein A chromatography step, resulting in the observation of antibody fragments (light chain, heavy chain, and various combination of both) in the protein A pools. Although all conditions leading to disulfide reduction have not been completely identified, an excessive amount of mechanical cell lysis generated at the harvest step appears to be an important requirement for antibody reduction (Trexler-Schmidt et al., 2010). We have been able to determine the mechanism by which the antibody is reduced despite the fact that not all requirements for antibody reduction were identified. Here we present data strongly suggesting that the antibody reduction was caused by a thioredoxin system or other reducing enzymes with thioredoxin-like activity. The intracellular reducing enzymes and their substrates/cofactors apparently were released into the harvest cell culture fluid (HCCF) when cells were exposed to mechanical cell shear during harvest operations. Surprisingly, the reducing activity in the HCCF can last for a long period of time, causing the reduction of inter-chain disulfide bonds in an antibody. Our findings provide a basis for designing methods to prevent the antibody reduction during the manufacturing process. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;107:622–632. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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