Characterization of intact glycopeptides reveals the impact of culture media on site-specific glycosylation of EPO-Fc fusion protein generated by CHO-GS cells

Qiong Wang, Ganglong Yang, Tiexin Wang, Weiming Yang, Michael J. Betenbaugh, Hui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


With the increasing demand to provide more detailed quality attributes, more sophisticated glycan analysis tools are highly desirable for biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Here, we performed an intact glycopeptide analysis method to simultaneously analyze the site-specific N- and O-glycan profiles of the recombinant erythropoietin Fc (EPO-Fc) protein secreted from a Chinese hamster ovary glutamine synthetase stable cell line and compared the effects of two commercial culture media, EX-CELL (EX) and immediate advantage (IA) media, on the glycosylation profile of the target protein. EPO-Fc, containing the Fc region of immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) fused to EPO, was harvested at Day 5 and 8 of a batch cell culture process followed by purification and N- and O-glycopeptide profiling. A mixed anion exchange chromatographic column was implemented to capture and enrich N-linked glycopeptides. Using intact glycopeptide characterization, the EPO-Fc was observed to maintain their individual EPO and Fc N-glycan characteristics in which the EPO region presented bi-, tri-, and tetra-branched N-glycan structures, while the Fc N-glycan displayed mostly biantennary glycans. EPO-Fc protein generated in EX medium produced more complex tetra-antennary N-glycans at each of the three EPO N-sites while IA medium resulted in a greater fraction of bi- and tri-antennary N-glycans at these same sites. Interestingly, the sialylation content decreased from sites 1–4 in both media while the fucosylation progressively increased with a maximum at the final IgG Fc site. Moreover, we observed that low amounts of Neu5Gc were detected and the content increased at the later sampling time in both EX and IA media. For O-glycopeptides, both media produced predominantly three structures, N1F1F0SOG0, N1H1F0S1G0, and N1H1F0S2G0, with lesser amounts of other structures. This intact glycopeptide method can decipher site-specific glycosylation profile and provide a more detailed characterization of N- and O-glycans present for enhanced understanding of the key product quality attributes such as media on recombinant proteins of biotechnology interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2303-2315
Number of pages13
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • CHO-GS cells
  • EPO-Fc protein
  • culture media
  • intact glycopeptide analysis
  • site-specific glycosylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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