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FEBS J. 2009 Oct;276(20):5806-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2009.07262.x. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

Production of a recombinant mouse monoclonal antibody in transgenic silkworm cocoons.

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Neosilk Co., Ltd, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan.


In the present study, we describe the production of transgenic silkworms expressing a recombinant mouse mAb in their cocoons. Two transgenic lines, L- and H-, were generated that carried cDNAs encoding the L- and H-chains of a mouse IgG mAb, respectively, under the control of the enhancer-linked sericin-1 promoter. Cocoon protein analysis indicated that the IgG L- or H-chain was secreted into the cocoons of each line. We also produced a transgenic line designated L/H, which carried both cDNAs, by crossing the L- and H-lines. This line efficiently produced the recombinant mAb as a fully assembled H(2)L(2) tetramer in its cocoons, with negligible L- or H-chain monomer and H-chain dimer production. Thus, the H(2)L(2) tetramer was synthesized in, and secreted from, the middle silk gland cells. Crossing of the L/H-line with a transgenic line expressing a baculovirus-derived trans-activator produced a 2.4-fold increase in mAb expression. The recombinant mAb was extracted from the cocoons with a buffer containing 3 m urea and purified by protein G affinity column chromatography. The antigen-binding affinity of the purified recombinant mAb was identical to that of the native mAb produced by a hybridoma. Analysis of the structure of the N-glycans attached to the recombinant mAb revealed that the mAb contained high mannose-, hybrid- and complex-type N-glycans. By contrast, insect-specific paucimannose-type glycans were not detected. Fucose residues alpha-1,3- and alpha-1,6-linked to the core N-acetylglucosamine residue, both of which are found in insect N-glycans, were not observed in the N-glycans of the mAb.

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