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Mass spectrometric analysis of products of metabolic glycan engineering with azido-modification of sialic acids

Bodnar, Edward, Raymond, Céline, Lopez, Paul G., Villacrés, Carina, Butler, Michael, Schoenhofen, Ian C., Durocher, Yves, Perreault, Hélène
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2015 v.407 no.30 pp. 8945-8958
Chinese hamsters, absorption, animal ovaries, biochemical pathways, cell culture, culture media, desorption, glycoproteins, humans, ionization, mass spectrometry, metabolic engineering, monoclonal antibodies, mutants, peptides, polysaccharides, sialic acids
Metabolic engineering of glycans present on antibodies and other glycoproteins is becoming an interesting research area for improving our understanding of the glycome. With knowledge of the sialic acid biosynthetic pathways, the experiments described in this report are based on a published procedure involving the addition of a synthesized azido-mannosamine sugar into cell culture media and evaluation of downstream expression as azido-sialic acid. This unique bioorthogonal sugar has the potential for a variety of “click chemistry” reactions through the azide linkage, which allow for it to be isolated and quantified given the choice of label. In this report, mass spectrometry was used to investigate and optimize the cellular absorption of peracetylated N-azidoacetylmannosamine (Ac₄ManNAz) to form N-azidoacetylneuraminic acid (SiaNAz) in a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell line transiently expressing a double mutant trastuzumab (TZMm2), human galactosyltransferase 1 (GT), and human α-2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6). This in vivo approach is compared to in vitro enzymatic addition SiaNAz onto TZMm2 using soluble β-galactosamide α-2,6-sialyltransferase 1 and CMP-SiaNAz as donor. The in vivo results suggest that for this mAb, concentrations above 100 μM of Ac₄ManNAz are necessary to allow for observation of terminal SiaNAz on tryptic peptides of TZMm2 by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry. This is further confirmed by a parallel study on the production of EG2-hFc monoclonal antibody (Zhang J et al. Prot Expr Purific 65(1); 77–82, 2009) in the presence of increasing concentrations of Ac₄ManNAz.