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Protein Expr Purif. 2010 May;71(1):96-102. doi: 10.1016/j.pep.2009.12.015. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Transient expression of an IL-23R extracellular domain Fc fusion protein in CHO vs. HEK cells results in improved plasma exposure.

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Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, 10675 John Jay Hopkins Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


Transient transfection of mammalian cells in suspension culture has recently emerged as a very useful method for production of research-scale quantities of recombinant proteins. The most commonly used cell lines for this purpose are suspension-adapted HEK and CHO cells. We report here that the plasma exposure in mice of an IL-23R extracellular domain Fc fusion protein (IL23R-Fc) differed dramatically depending on whether the protein was prepared by transient transfection of HEK or CHO cells. Specifically, IL23R-Fc expressed using CHO cells had about 30-fold higher in vivo plasma exposure compared to the HEK-expressed protein. In contrast to their differing plasma exposures, the HEK- and CHO-expressed proteins had equivalent in vitro biological activity. Characterization of the CHO- and HEK-expressed IL23R-Fc proteins indicated that the differences in in vivo plasma exposure between them are due to differential glycosylation.

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