Proteolytic cleavage of recombinant two-chain factor VIII during cell culture production is mediated by protease(s) from lysed cells. The use of pulse labelling directly in production medium
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During the production by mammalian cells of recombinant factor VIII from which the B domain was deleted (rFVIII), proteolytic cleavages in the C-terminal part of the heavy chain were observed (Kjalke et al., 1995). By radioactive pulse labelling it was investigated whether the cleavages took place inside the cells during protein synthesis or after release in the medium. The rFVIII-producing CHO (Chinese hamster ovary) cells were cultured in the presence of 35S-methionine and then the cell lysate and the conditioned media were immunoprecipitated and analyzed by electrophoresis. By pulse labelling and chasing for various time periods, it was shown that the cleavages only took place after secretion of the protein from the cells. Adding cell lysate to uncleaved rFVIII caused cleavage of the heavy chain, as seen by loss of binding to a monoclonal antibody specific for intact rFVIII, indicating that the cleavage was performed by proteinase(s) released from the lysed cells. By incubating intact rFVIII with the multicatalytic proteinase (proteasome) present in cytoplasm and nucleus of eukaryotic cells, loss of binding to the monoclonal antibody was observed. This indicates that the multicatalytic proteinase, released from lysed rFVIII producing cells, could be responsible for the cleavage of rFVIII. Among several protease inhibitors tested, only bacitracin was found to diminish the extent of cleavage. Phosphatidylserine also protected rFVIII against cleavage, probably by binding to rFVIII.
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