• Open Access

Plant-specific glycosylation patterns in the context of therapeutic protein production


(fax +33 2 35 14 67 87; email lfaye@crihan.fr, vgomord@crihan.fr)


While N-glycan synthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is relatively well conserved in eukaryotes, N-glycan processing and O-glycan biosynthesis in the Golgi apparatus are kingdom specific and result in different oligosaccharide structures attached to glycoproteins in plants and mammals. With the prospect of using plants as alternative hosts to mammalian cell lines for the production of therapeutic glycoproteins, significant progress has been made towards the humanization of protein N-glycosylation in plant cells. To date, successful efforts in this direction have mainly focused on the targeted expression of therapeutic proteins, the knockout of plant-specific N-glycan-processing genes, and/or the introduction of the enzymatic machinery catalyzing the synthesis, transport and addition of human sugars. By contrast, very little attention has been paid until now to the O-glycosylation status of plant-made therapeutic proteins, which is surprising considering that hundreds of human proteins represent good candidates for Hyp-O glycosylation when produced in a plant expression system. This review describes protein N- and O-linked glycosylation in plants and highlights the limitations and advantages of plant-specific glycosylation on plant-made biopharmaceuticals.