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Glycobiology. 2009 Sep;19(9):936-49. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwp079. Epub 2009 Jun 3.

Optimal and consistent protein glycosylation in mammalian cell culture.

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  • 1Process Sciences Upstream, Technical Operations, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, East Syracuse, NY 13057, USA.


In the biopharmaceutical industry, mammalian cell culture systems, especially Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, are predominantly used for the production of therapeutic glycoproteins. Glycosylation is a critical protein quality attribute that can modulate the efficacy of a commercial therapeutic glycoprotein. Obtaining a consistent glycoform profile in production is desired due to regulatory concerns because a molecule can be defined by its carbohydrate structures. An optimal profile may involve a spectrum of product glycans that confers a desired therapeutic efficacy, or a homogeneous glycoform profile that can be systemically screened for. Studies have shown some degree of protein glycosylation control in mammalian cell culture, through cellular, media, and process effects. Studies upon our own bioprocesses to produce fusion proteins and monoclonal antibodies have shown an intricate relationship between these variables and the resulting protein quality. Glycosylation optimization will improve therapeutic efficacy and is an ongoing goal for researchers in academia and industry alike. This review will focus on the advancements made in glycosylation control in a manufacturing process, as well as the next steps in understanding and controlling protein glycosylation.

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