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Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2012;127:187-219. doi: 10.1007/10_2011_113.

Protein glycosylation control in mammalian cell culture: past precedents and contemporary prospects.

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Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Bioresearch Center, Worcester, MA, 01605, USA,


Protein glycosylation is a post-translational modification of paramount importance for the function, immunogenicity, and efficacy of recombinant glycoprotein therapeutics. Within the repertoire of post-translational modifications, glycosylation stands out as having the most significant proven role towards affecting pharmacokinetics and protein physiochemical characteristics. In mammalian cell culture, the understanding and controllability of the glycosylation metabolic pathway has achieved numerous successes. However, there is still much that we do not know about the regulation of the pathway. One of the frequent conclusions regarding protein glycosylation control is that it needs to be studied on a case-by-case basis since there are often conflicting results with respect to a control variable and the resulting glycosylation. In attempts to obtain a more multivariate interpretation of these potentially controlling variables, gene expression analysis and systems biology have been used to study protein glycosylation in mammalian cell culture. Gene expression analysis has provided information on how glycosylation pathway genes both respond to culture environmental cues, and potentially facilitate changes in the final glycoform profile. Systems biology has allowed researchers to model the pathway as well-defined, inter-connected systems, allowing for the in silico testing of pathway parameters that would be difficult to test experimentally. Both approaches have facilitated a macroscopic and microscopic perspective on protein glycosylation control. These tools have and will continue to enhance our understanding and capability of producing optimal glycoform profiles on a consistent basis.

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