Functional production of human antibody by the filamentous fungus Aspergillus oryzae.

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Functional production of human antibody by the filamentous fungus Aspergillus oryzae.

Fungal Biol Biotechnol. 2020;7:7

Authors: Huynh HH, Morita N, Sakamoto T, Katayama T, Miyakawa T, Tanokura M, Chiba Y, Shinkura R, Maruyama JI

Background: Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as biopharmaceuticals take a pivotal role in the current therapeutic applications. Generally mammalian cell lines, such as those derived from Chinese hamster ovaries (CHO), are used to produce the recombinant antibody. However, there are still concerns about the high cost and the risk of pathogenic contamination when using mammalian cells. Aspergillus oryzae, a filamentous fungus recognized as a GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) organism, has an ability to secrete a large amount of proteins into the culture supernatant, and thus the fungus has been used as one of the cost-effective microbial hosts for heterologous protein production. Pursuing this strategy the human anti-TNFα antibody adalimumab, one of the world’s best-selling antibodies for the treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, was chosen to produce the full length of mAbs by A. oryzae. Generally, N-glycosylation of the antibody affects immune effector functions such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) via binding to the Fc receptor (FcγR) on immune cells. The CRISPR/Cas9 system was used to first delete the Aooch1 gene encoding a key enzyme for the hyper-mannosylation process in fungi to investigate the binding ability of antibody with FcγRIIIa.
Results: Adalimumab was expressed in A. oryzae by the fusion protein system with α-amylase AmyB. The full-length adalimumab consisting of two heavy and two light chains was successfully produced in the culture supernatants. Among the producing strains, the highest amount of antibody was obtained from the ten-protease deletion strain (39.7 mg/L). Two-step purifications by Protein A and size-exclusion chromatography were applied to obtain the high purity sample for further analysis. The antigen-binding and TNFα neutralizing activities of the adalimumab produced by A. oryzae were comparable with those of a commercial product Humira®. No apparent binding with the FcγRIIIa was detected with the recombinant adalimumab even by altering the N-glycan structure using the Aooch1 deletion strain, which suggests only a little additional activity of immune effector functions.
Conclusion: These results demonstrated an alternative low-cost platform for human antibody production by using A. oryzae, possibly offering a reasonable expenditure for patient’s welfare.

PMID: 32514366 [PubMed]

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