A transgenic insect cell line engineered to produce CMP-sialic acid and sialylated glycoproteins.
ABSTRACT: We have previously engineered transgenic insect cell lines to express mammalian glycosyltransferases and showed that these cells can sialylate N-glycoproteins, despite the fact that they have little intracellular sialic acid and no detectable CMP-sialic acid. In the accompanying study, we presented evidence that these cell lines can salvage sialic acids for de novo glycoprotein sialylation from extracellular sialoglycoproteins, such as fetuin, found in fetal bovine serum. This finding led us to create a new transgenic insect cell line designed to synthesize its own sialic acid and CMP-sialic acid. SfSWT-1 cells, which encode five mammalian glycosyltransferases, were transformed with two additional mammalian genes that encode sialic acid synthase and CMP-sialic acid synthetase. The resulting cell line expressed all seven mammalian genes, produced CMP-sialic acid, and sialylated a recombinant glycoprotein when cultured in a serum-free growth medium supplemented with N-acetylmannosamine. Thus the addition of mammalian genes encoding two enzymes involved in CMP-sialic acid biosynthesis yielded a new transgenic insect cell line, SfSWT-3, that can sialylate recombinant glycoproteins in the absence of fetal bovine serum. This new cell line will be widely useful as an improved host for baculovirus-mediated recombinant glycoprotein production.
Project description:Insect cells are widely used for recombinant glycoprotein production, but they cannot provide the glycosylation patterns required for some biotechnological applications. This problem has been addressed by genetically engineering insect cells to express mammalian genes encoding various glycoprotein glycan processing functions. However, for various reasons, the impact of a mammalian cytosine-5'-monophospho (CMP)-sialic acid transporter has not yet been examined. Thus, we transformed Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells with six mammalian genes to generate a new cell line, SfSWT-4, that can produce sialylated glycoproteins when cultured with the sialic acid precursor, N-acetylmannosamine. We then super-transformed SfSWT-4 with a human CMP-sialic acid transporter (hCSAT) gene to isolate a daughter cell line, SfSWT-6, which expressed the hCSAT gene in addition to the other mammalian glycogenes. SfSWT-6 cells had higher levels of cell surface sialylation and also supported higher levels of recombinant glycoprotein sialylation, particularly when cultured with low concentrations of N-acetylmannosamine. Thus, hCSAT expression has an impact on glycoprotein sialylation, can reduce the cost of recombinant glycoprotein production and therefore should be included in ongoing efforts to glycoengineer the baculovirus-insect cell system. The results of this study also contributed new insights into the endogenous mechanism and potential mechanisms of CMP-sialic acid accumulation in the Golgi apparatus of lepidopteran insect cells.
Project description:We previously described a transgenic insect cell line, Sfbeta4GalT/ST6, that expresses mammalian beta-1,4-galactosyltransferase and alpha2,6-sialyltransferase genes and produces glycoproteins with terminally sialylated N-glycans. The ability of these cells to produce sialylated N-glycans was surprising because insect cells contain only small amounts of sialic acid and no detectable CMP-sialic acid. Thus, it was of interest to investigate potential sources of sialic acids for sialoglycoprotein synthesis by these cells. We found that Sfbeta4GalT/ST6 cells can produce sialylated N-glycans when cultured in the presence but not in the absence of fetal bovine serum. The serum component(s) supporting N-glycan sialylation by Sfbeta4GalT/ST6 cells is relatively large-it was not removed by dialysis in a 50,000-molecular-weight cutoff membrane. Serum-free media supplemented with purified fetuin but not asialofetuin supported N-glycan sialylation by Sfbeta4GalT/ST6 cells. The terminally sialylated N-glycans isolated from fetuin also supported glycoprotein sialylation by Sfbeta4GalT/ST6 cells. Finally, serum-free medium supplemented with N-acetylneuraminic acid or N-acetylmannosamine supported glycoprotein sialylation by Sfbeta4GalT/ST6 cells but to a much lower degree than serum or fetuin. These results provide the first evidence of a sialic acid salvaging pathway in insect cells, which begins to explain how Sfbeta4GalT/ST6 and other transgenic insect cell lines can sialylate recombinant glycoproteins in the absence of a more obvious source of CMP-sialic acid.
Project description:Insect cells, like other eucaryotic cells, modify many of their proteins by N-glycosylation. However, the endogenous insect cell N-glycan processing machinery generally does not produce complex, terminally sialylated N-glycans such as those found in mammalian systems. This difference in the N-glycan processing pathways of insect cells and higher eucaryotes imposes a significant limitation on their use as hosts for baculovirus-mediated recombinant glycoprotein production. To address this problem, we previously isolated two transgenic insect cell lines that have mammalian beta1,4-galactosyltransferase or beta1,4-galactosyltransferase and alpha2,6-sialyltransferase genes. Unlike the parental insect cell line, both transgenic cell lines expressed the mammalian glycosyltransferases and were able to produce terminally galactosylated or sialylated N-glycans. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the structures of the N-glycans produced by these transgenic insect cell lines in further detail. Direct structural analyses revealed that the most extensively processed N-glycans produced by the transgenic insect cell lines were novel, monoantennary structures with elongation of only the alpha1,3 branch. This led to the hypothesis that the transgenic insect cell lines lacked adequate endogenous N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase II activity for biantennary N-glycan production. To test this hypothesis and further extend the N-glycan processing pathway in Sf9 cells, we produced a new transgenic line designed to constitutively express a more complete array of mammalian glycosyltransferases, including N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase II. This new transgenic insect cell line, designated SfSWT-1, has higher levels of five glycosyltransferase activities than the parental cells and supports baculovirus replication at normal levels. In addition, direct structural analyses showed that SfSWT-1 cells could produce biantennary, terminally sialylated N-glycans. Thus, this study provides new insight on the glycobiology of insect cells and describes a new transgenic insect cell line that will be widely useful for the production of more authentic recombinant glycoproteins by baculovirus expression vectors.
Project description:Sialyltransferases transfer sialic acid from cytidine 5'-monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid (CMP-NeuAc) to an acceptor molecule. Trans-sialidases of parasites transfer alpha2,3-linked sialic acid from one molecule to another without the involvement of CMP-NeuAc. Here we report another type of sialylation, termed reverse sialylation, catalyzed by mammalian sialyltransferase ST3Gal-II. This enzyme synthesizes CMP-NeuAc by transferring NeuAc from the NeuAcalpha2,3Galbeta1,3GalNAcalpha unit of O-glycans, 3-sialyl globo unit of glycolipids, and sialylated macromolecules to 5'-CMP. CMP-NeuAc produced in situ is utilized by the same enzyme to sialylate other O-glycans and by other sialyltransferases such as ST6Gal-I and ST6GalNAc-I, forming alpha2,6-sialylated compounds. ST3Gal-II also catalyzed the conversion of 5'-uridine monophosphate (UMP) to UMP-NeuAc, which was found to be an inactive sialyl donor. Reverse sialylation proceeded without the need for free sialic acid, divalent metal ions, or energy. Direct sialylation with CMP-NeuAc as well as the formation of CMP-NeuAc from 5'-CMP had a wide optimum range (pH 5.2-7.2 and 4.8-6.4, respectively), whereas the entire reaction comprising in situ production of CMP-NeuAc and sialylation of acceptor had a sharp optimum at pH 5.6 (activity level 50% at pH 5.2 and 6.8, 25% at pH 4.8 and 7.2). Several properties distinguish forward/conventional versus reverse sialylation: (i) sodium citrate inhibited forward sialylation but not reverse sialylation; (ii) 5'-CDP, a potent forward sialyltransferase inhibitor, did not inhibit the conversion of 5'-CMP to CMP-NeuAc; and (iii) the mucin core 2 compound 3-O-sulfoGalbeta1,4GlcNAcbeta1,6(Galbeta1,3)GalNAcalpha-O-benzyl, an efficient acceptor for ST3Gal-II, inhibited the conversion of 5'-CMP to CMP-NeuAc. A significant level of reverse sialylation activity is noted in human prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and PC3. Overall, the study demonstrates that the sialyltransferase reaction is readily reversible in the case of ST3Gal-II and can be exploited for the enzymatic synthesis of diverse sialyl products.
Project description:Insect cells are used routinely to express recombinant mammalian glycoproteins. However, insect protein glycosylation pathways are not well understood and appear to differ from those of mammalian cells. One way to more clearly evaluate the protein glycosylation potential of insect cells is to use the Drosophila melanogaster genome to identify genes that might encode relevant functions. These genes can then be expressed and the functions of the gene products directly evaluated by biochemical assays. In this study, we used this approach to determine the function of a putative Drosophila nucleotide sugar transporter gene. The results showed that this gene encodes a protein that can transport UDP-galactose, but not CMP-sialic acid. Thus, Drosophila encodes at least some of the infrastructure needed to produce glycoproteins with complex glycans, but this particular gene product does not directly support glycoprotein sialylation. These findings are relevant to insect cell biology and to an informed consideration of insect cell expression systems as tools for recombinant glycoprotein production.
Project description:The inability to produce recombinant glycoproteins with authentic N-glycans is a limitation of many heterologous protein expression systems. In the baculovirus-insect cell system, this limitation has been addressed by glycoengineering insect cell lines with mammalian genes encoding protein N-glycosylation functions ("glycogenes") under the transcriptional control of constitutive promoters. However, a potential problem with this approach is that the metabolic load imposed by the expression of multiple transgenes could adversely impact the growth and/or stability of glycoengineered insect cell lines. Thus, we created a new transgenic insect cell line (SfSWT-5) with an inducibly mammalianized protein N-glycosylation pathway. Expression of all six glycogenes was induced when uninfected SfSWT-5 cells were cultured in growth medium containing doxycycline. Higher levels of expression and induction were observed when SfSWT-5 cells were cultured with doxycycline and infected with a baculovirus. Interestingly, there were no major differences in the short-term growth properties of SfSWT-5 cells cultured with or without doxycycline. Furthermore, there were no major differences in the phenotypic stability of these cells after continuous culture for over 300 passages with or without doxycycline. Baculovirus-infected Sf9 and SfSWT-5 cells produced about the same amounts of a model recombinant glycoprotein, but only the latter sialylated this product and sialylation was more pronounced when the cells were treated with doxycycline. In summary, this is the first report of a lower eukaryotic system with an inducibly mammalianized protein N-glycosylation pathway and the first to examine how the presumed metabolic load imposed by multiple transgene expression impacts insect cell growth and stability.
Project description:Gangliosides, complex glycosphingolipids containing sialic acids, are synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum and in the Golgi complex. These neobiosynthesized gangliosides move via vesicular transport to the plasma membrane, becoming components of the external leaflet. Gangliosides can undergo endocytosis followed by recycling to the cell surface or sorting to the Golgi complex or lysosomes for remodeling and catabolism. Recently, glycosphingolipid catabolic enzymes (glycohydrolases) have been found to be associated with the plasma membrane, where they display activity on the membrane components. In this work, we demonstrated that ecto-ganglioside glycosyltransferases may catalyze ganglioside synthesis outside the Golgi compartment, particularly at the cell surface. Specifically, we report the first direct evidence of expression and activity of CMP-NeuAc:GM3 sialyltransferase (Sial-T2) at the cell surface of epithelial and melanoma cells, with membrane-integrated ecto-Sial-T2 being able to sialylate endogenously synthesized GM3 ganglioside as well as exogenously incorporated substrate. Interestingly, we also showed that ecto-Sial-T2 was able to synthesize GD3 ganglioside at the cell surface using the endogenously synthesized cytidine monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid (CMP-NeuAc) available at the extracellular milieu. In addition, the expression of UDP-GalNAc:LacCer/GM3/GD3 N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase (GalNAc-T) was also detected at the cell surface of epithelial cells, whose catalytic activity was only observed after feeding the cells with exogenous GM3 substrate. Thus, the relative interplay between the plasma membrane-associated glycosyltransferase and glycohydrolase activities, even when acting on a common substrate, emerges as a potential level of regulation of the local glycosphingolipid composition in response to different external and internal stimuli.
Project description:Nucleotide-sugar transporters (NSTs) are critical components of the cellular glycosylation machinery. They transport nucleotide-sugar conjugates into the Golgi lumen, where they are used for the glycosylation of proteins and lipids, and they then subsequently transport the nucleotide monophosphate byproduct back to the cytoplasm. Dysregulation of human NSTs causes several debilitating diseases, and NSTs are virulence factors for many pathogens. Here we present the first crystal structures of a mammalian NST, the mouse CMP-sialic acid transporter (mCST), in complex with its physiological substrates CMP and CMP-sialic acid. Detailed visualization of extensive protein-substrate interactions explains the mechanisms governing substrate selectivity. Further structural analysis of mCST's unique lumen-facing partially-occluded conformation, coupled with the characterization of substrate-induced quenching of mCST's intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence, reveals the concerted conformational transitions that occur during substrate transport. These results provide a framework for understanding the effects of disease-causing mutations and the mechanisms of this diverse family of transporters.
Project description:Glycan structures on glycoproteins and glycolipids play critical roles in biological recognition, targeting, and modulation of functions in animal systems. Many classes of glycan structures are capped with terminal sialic acid residues, which contribute to biological functions by either forming or masking glycan recognition sites on the cell surface or secreted glycoconjugates. Sialylated glycans are synthesized in mammals by a single conserved family of sialyltransferases that have diverse linkage and acceptor specificities. We examined the enzymatic basis for glycan sialylation in animal systems by determining the crystal structures of rat ST6GAL1, an enzyme that creates terminal α2,6-sialic acid linkages on complex-type N-glycans, at 2.4 Å resolution. Crystals were obtained from enzyme preparations generated in mammalian cells. The resulting structure revealed an overall protein fold broadly resembling the previously determined structure of pig ST3GAL1, including a CMP-sialic acid-binding site assembled from conserved sialylmotif sequence elements. Significant differences in structure and disulfide bonding patterns were found outside the sialylmotif sequences, including differences in residues predicted to interact with the glycan acceptor. Computational substrate docking and molecular dynamics simulations were performed to predict and evaluate the CMP-sialic acid donor and glycan acceptor interactions, and the results were compared with kinetic analysis of active site mutants. Comparisons of the structure with pig ST3GAL1 and a bacterial sialyltransferase revealed a similar positioning of donor, acceptor, and catalytic residues that provide a common structural framework for catalysis by the mammalian and bacterial sialyltransferases.
Project description:Many mechanisms have been proposed for how heightened aerobic glycolytic metabolism fuels cancer pathogenicity, but there are still many unexplored pathways. Here, we have performed metabolomic profiling to map glucose incorporation into metabolic pathways upon transformation of mammary epithelial cells by 11 commonly mutated human oncogenes. We show that transformation of mammary epithelial cells by oncogenic stimuli commonly shunts glucose-derived carbons into synthesis of sialic acid, a hexosamine pathway metabolite that is converted to CMP-sialic acid by cytidine monophosphate N-acetylneuraminic acid synthase (CMAS) as a precursor to glycoprotein and glycolipid sialylation. We show that CMAS knockdown leads to elevations in intracellular sialic acid levels, a depletion of cellular sialylation, and alterations in the expression of many cancer-relevant genes to impair breast cancer pathogenicity. Our study reveals the heretofore unrecognized role of sialic acid metabolism and protein sialylation in regulating the expression of genes that maintain breast cancer pathogenicity.