Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.115, No.3, 705-718, 2018
Modulation of IgG1 immunoeffector function by glycoengineering of the GDP-fucose biosynthesis pathway
Cross-linking of the Fc receptors expressed on the surface of hematopoietic cells by IgG immune complexes triggers the activation of key immune effector mechanisms, including antibody-dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). A conserved N-glycan positioned at the N-terminal region of the IgG C(H)2 domain is critical in maintaining the quaternary structure of the molecule for Fc receptor engagement. The removal of a single core fucose residue from the N-glycan results in a considerable increase in affinity for FcRIIIa leading to an enhanced receptor-mediated immunoeffector function. The enhanced potency of the molecule translates into a number of distinct advantages in the development of IgG antibodies for cancer therapy. In an effort to significantly increase the potency of an anti-CD20, IgG1 molecule, we selectively targeted the de novo GDP-fucose biosynthesis pathway of the host CHO cell line to generate >80% afucosylated IgG1 resulting in enhanced FcRIIIa binding (13-fold) and in vitro ADCC cell-based activity (11-fold). In addition, this effective glycoengineering strategy also allowed for the utilization of the alternate GDP-fucose salvage pathway to provide a fast and efficient mechanism to manipulate the N-glycan fucosylation level to modulate IgG immune effector function.