Cell culture media supplementation of infrequently used sugars for the targeted shifting of protein glycosylation profiles



Mammalian cells in culture rely on sources of carbohydrates to supply the energy requirements for proliferation. In addition, carbohydrates provide a large source of the carbon supply for supporting various other metabolic activities, including the intermediates involved in the protein glycosylation pathway. Glucose and galactose, in particular, are commonly used sugars in culture media for these purposes. However, there exists a very large repertoire of other sugars in nature, and many that have been chemically synthesized. These sugars are particularly interesting because they can be utilized by cells in culture in distinct ways. In the present work it has been found that many infrequently used sugars, and the corresponding cellular response towards them as substrates, led to differences in the protein N-glycosylation profile of a recombinant glycoprotein. The selective media supplementation of raffinose, trehalose, turanose, palatinose, melezitose, psicose, lactose, lactulose, and mannose were found to be capable of redirecting N-glycan oligosaccharide profiles. Despite this shifting of protein glycosylation, there were no other adverse changes in culture performance, including both cell growth and cellular productivity over a wide range of supplemented sugar concentrations. The approach presented highlights a potential means towards both the targeted shifting of protein glycosylation profiles and ensuring recombinant protein comparability, which up to this point in time has remained under-appreciated for these under-utilized compounds. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 33:511–522, 2017