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Tiels P.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Tiels P.,Ghent University | Baranova E.,Structural and Molecular Microbiology | Baranova E.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | And 19 more authors.
Nature Biotechnology | Year: 2012

Lysosomal storage diseases are treated with human lysosomal enzymes produced in mammalian cells. Such enzyme therapeutics contain relatively low levels of mannose-6-phosphate, which is required to target them to the lysosomes of patient cells. Here we describe a method for increasing mannose-6-phosphate modification of lysosomal enzymes produced in yeast. We identified a glycosidase from C. cellulans that 'uncaps' N-glycans modified by yeast-type mannose-Pi-6-mannose to generate mammalian-type N-glycans with a mannose-6-phosphate substitution. Determination of the crystal structure of this glycosidase provided insight into its substrate specificity. We used this uncapping enzyme together with α-mannosidase to produce in yeast a form of the Pompe disease enzyme α-glucosidase rich in mannose-6-phosphate. Compared with the currently used therapeutic version, this form of α-glucosidase was more efficiently taken up by fibroblasts from Pompe disease patients, and it more effectively reduced cardiac muscular glycogen storage in a mouse model of the disease. © 2012 Nature America, Inc.


De Pourcq K.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | De Pourcq K.,Ghent University | Vervecken W.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Vervecken W.,Ghent University | And 8 more authors.
Microbial Cell Factories | Year: 2012

Background: Protein-based therapeutics represent the fastest growing class of compounds in the pharmaceutical industry. This has created an increasing demand for powerful expression systems. Yeast systems are widely used, convenient and cost-effective. Yarrowia lipolytica is a suitable host that is generally regarded as safe (GRAS). Yeasts, however, modify their glycoproteins with heterogeneous glycans containing mainly mannoses, which complicates downstream processing and often interferes with protein function in man. Our aim was to glyco-engineer Y. lipolytica to abolish the heterogeneous, yeast-specific glycosylation and to obtain homogeneous human high-mannose type glycosylation.Results: We engineered Y. lipolytica to produce homogeneous human-type terminal-mannose glycosylated proteins, i.e. glycosylated with Man8GlcNAc2 or Man5GlcNAc2. First, we inactivated the yeast-specific Golgi α-1,6-mannosyltransferases YlOch1p and YlMnn9p; the former inactivation yielded a strain producing homogeneous Man8GlcNAc2 glycoproteins. We tested this strain by expressing glucocerebrosidase and found that the hypermannosylation-related heterogeneity was eliminated. Furthermore, detailed analysis of N-glycans showed that YlOch1p and YlMnn9p, despite some initial uncertainty about their function, are most likely the α-1,6-mannosyltransferases responsible for the addition of the first and second mannose residue, respectively, to the glycan backbone. Second, introduction of an ER-retained α-1,2-mannosidase yielded a strain producing proteins homogeneously glycosylated with Man5GlcNAc2. The use of the endogenous LIP2pre signal sequence and codon optimization greatly improved the efficiency of this enzyme.Conclusions: We generated a Y. lipolytica expression platform for the production of heterologous glycoproteins that are homogenously glycosylated with either Man8GlcNAc2 or Man5GlcNAc2 N-glycans. This platform expands the utility of Y. lipolytica as a heterologous expression host and makes it possible to produce glycoproteins with homogeneously glycosylated N-glycans of the human high-mannose-type, which greatly broadens the application scope of these glycoproteins. © 2012 De Pourcq et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Al Atalah B.,Ghent University | Fouquaert E.,Ghent University | Vanderschaeghe D.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Proost P.,Rega Institute for Medical Research | And 6 more authors.
FEBS Journal | Year: 2011

The Oryza sativa lectin, abbreviated Orysata, is a mannose-specific, jacalin-related lectin expressed in rice plants after exposure to certain stress conditions. Expression of a fusion construct containing the rice lectin sequence linked to enhanced green fluorescent protein in Bright Yellow 2 tobacco cells revealed that Orysata is located in the nucleus and the cytoplasm of the plant cell, indicating that it belongs to the class of nucleocytoplasmic jacalin-related lectins. Since the expression level of Orysata in rice tissues is very low the lectin was expressed in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris with the Saccharomycesα-factor sequence to direct the recombinant protein into the secretory pathway and express the protein into the medium. Approximately 12 mg of recombinant lectin was purified per liter medium. SDS/PAGE and western blot analysis showed that the recombinant lectin exists in two molecular forms. Far western blot analysis revealed that the 23 kDa lectin polypeptide contains an N-glycan which is absent in the 18.5 kDa polypeptide. Characterization of the glycans present in the recombinant Orysata revealed high-mannose structures, Man9-11 glycans being the most abundant. Glycan array analysis showed that Orysata interacts with high-mannose as well as with more complex N-glycan structures. Orysata has potent anti-human immunodeficiency virus and anti-respiratory syncytial virus activity in cell culture compared with other jacalin-related lectins. The Oryza sativa lectin (Orysata) is located in the nucleus and the cytoplasm of the plant cell. This lectin was expressed in the medium of the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris and purified. Glycan array analysis revealed that Orysata interacts with high-mannose and more complex N-glycan structures. Orysata has potent anti-human immunodeficiency virus and anti-respiratory syncytial virus activity in cell culture. © 2011 FEBS.


De Schutter K.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) | Year: 2012

Yeast surface display is being employed as an efficient tool for the isolation and engineering of traditional antibody fragments, both scFv and Fab, as well as single domain antibodies. Here we describe the protocols for a yeast surface display system developed in the methylothrophic yeast Pichia pastoris, the most commonly used yeast species for protein production. In this system the immune or maturated library of single domain antibodies is fused to the C-terminal domain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae alpha-agglutinin gene (SAG1) and expressed on the surface of P. pastoris cells. Labeling with ligands enables rapid and quantitative analysis in conjunction with isolation of single domain antibodies with the desired characteristics.


Guerfal M.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Guerfal M.,Ghent University | Claes K.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Claes K.,Ghent University | And 6 more authors.
Microbial Cell Factories | Year: 2013

Background: Membrane protein research is frequently hampered by the low natural abundance of these proteins in cells and typically relies on recombinant gene expression. Different expression systems, like mammalian cells, insect cells, bacteria and yeast are being used, but very few research efforts have been directed towards specific host cell customization for enhanced expression of membrane proteins. Here we show that by increasing the intracellular membrane production by interfering with a key enzymatic step of lipid synthesis, enhanced expression of membrane proteins in yeast is achieved. Results: We engineered the oleotrophic yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica, by deleting the phosphatidic acid phosphatase, PAH1, which led to massive proliferation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes. For all eight tested representatives of different integral membrane protein families, we obtained enhanced protein accumulation levels and in some cases enhanced proteolytic integrity in the {increment}pah1 strain. We analysed the adenosine A2AR G-protein coupled receptor case in more detail and found that concomitant induction of the unfolded protein response in the {increment}pah1 strain enhanced the specific ligand binding activity of the receptor. These data indicate an improved quality control mechanism for membrane proteins accumulating in yeast cells with proliferated ER. Conclusions: We conclude that redirecting the metabolic flux of fatty acids away from triacylglycerol- and sterylester-storage towards membrane phospholipid synthesis by PAH1 gene inactivation, provides a valuable approach to enhance eukaryotic membrane protein production. Complementary to this improvement in membrane protein quantity, UPR co-induction further enhances the quality of the membrane protein in terms of its proper folding and biological activity. Importantly, since these pathways are conserved in all eukaryotes, it will be of interest to investigate similar engineering approaches in other cell types of biotechnological interest, such as insect cells and mammalian cells. © 2013 Guerfal et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Borloo J.,Ghent University | Geldhof P.,Ghent University | Peelaers I.,Ghent University | Van Meulder F.,Ghent University | And 8 more authors.
Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography | Year: 2013

The cysteine-rich secretory/antigen 5/pathogenesis-related 1 (CAP) protein superfamily is composed of a functionally diverse group of members that are found in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. The excretome/secretome of numerous helminths (parasitic nematodes) contains abundant amounts of CAP members termed activation-associated secreted proteins (ASPs). Although ASPs are necessary for the parasitic life cycle in the host, the current lack of structural and functional information limits both understanding of their actual role in host-parasite interactions and the development of new routes in controlling parasitic infections and diseases. Alleviating this knowledge gap, a 1.85Å resolution structure of recombinantly produced Oo-ASP-1 from Ostertagia ostertagi, which is one of the most prevalent gastrointestinal parasites in cattle worldwide, was solved. Overall, Oo-ASP-1 displays the common hallmark architecture shared by all CAP-superfamily members, including the N-erminal CAP and C-terminal cysteine-rich domains, but it also reveals a number of highly peculiar features. In agreement with studies of the natively produced protein, the crystal structure shows that Oo-ASP-1 forms a stable dimer that has been found to be primarily maintained via an intermolecular disulfide bridge, hence the small interaction surface of only 306.8Å2. Moreover, unlike any other ASP described to date, an additional intramolecular disulfide bridge links the N- and C-termini of each monomer, thereby yielding a quasi-cyclic molecule. Taken together, the insights presented here form an initial step towards a better understanding of the actual biological role(s) that this ASP plays in host-parasite interactions. The structure is also essential to help to define the key regions of the protein suitable for development of ASP-based vaccines, which would enable the current issues surrounding anthelmintic resistance in the treatment of parasitic infections and diseases to be circumvented. © 2013 International Union of Crystallography Printed in Singapore - all rights reserved.


Vandewalle K.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Vandewalle K.,Ghent University | Festjens N.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | Festjens N.,Ghent University | And 6 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

Reverse genetics research approaches require the availability of methods to rapidly generate specific mutants. Alternatively, where these methods are lacking, the construction of pre-characterized libraries of mutants can be extremely valuable. However, this can be complex, expensive and time consuming. Here, we describe a robust, easy to implement parallel sequencing-based method (Cartesian Pooling-Coordinate Sequencing or CP-CSeq) that reports both on the identity as well as on the location of sequence-tagged biological entities in well-plate archived clone collections. We demonstrate this approach using a transposon insertion mutant library of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine strain, providing the largest resource of mutants in any strain of the M. tuberculosis complex. The method is applicable to any entity for which sequence-tagged identification is possible. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Nagels B.,Ghent University | Nagels B.,Bayer BioScience N.V | van Damme E.J.M.,Ghent University | Pabst M.,University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna | And 4 more authors.
Plant Physiology | Year: 2011

In recent years, plants have been developed as an alternative expression system to mammalian hosts for the production of therapeutic proteins. Many modifications to the plant glycosylation machinery have been made to render it more human because of the importance of glycosylation for functionality, serum half-life, and the safety profile of the expressed proteins. These modifications include removal of plant-specific β1,2-xylose and core α1,3-fucose, and addition of bisecting N-acetylglucosamine, β1,4-galactoses, and sialic acid residues. Another glycosylation step that is essential for the production of complex human-type glycans is the synthesis of multiantennary structures, which are frequently found on human N-glycans but are not generated by wild-type plants. Here, we report both the magnICON-based transient as well as stable introduction of the α1,3-mannosyl-β1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (GnT-IV isozymes a and b) and α1,6-mannosyl-β1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (GnT-V) in Nicotiana benthamiana plants. The enzymes were targeted to the Golgi apparatus by fusing their catalytic domains to the plant-specific localization signals of xylosyltransferase and fucosyltransferase. The GnT-IV and -V modifications were tested in the wild-type background, but were also combined with the RNA interference-mediated knockdown of β1,2-xylosyltransferase and α1,3-fucosyltransferase. Results showed that triantennary Gn[GnGn] and [GnGn]Gn N-glycans could be produced according to the expected activities of the respective enzymes. Combination of the two enzymes by crossing stably transformed GnT-IV and GnT-V plants showed that up to 10% tetraantennary [GnGn][GnGn], 25% triantennary, and 35% biantennary N-glycans were synthesized. All transgenic plants were viable and showed no aberrant phenotype under standard growth conditions. © 2011 American Society of Plant Biologists.


Nagels B.,Ghent University | Nagels B.,Bayer BioScience N.V. | Weterings K.,Bayer AG | Callewaert N.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | And 2 more authors.
Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences | Year: 2012

In the last two decades plants have emerged as valuable alternatives to mammalian cells for the production of pharmaceuticals and their potential as expression systems was shown by the commercial availability and acceptance of several plant made therapeuticals in clinical trials. Plants have many advantages over yeast, insect and bacterial expression systems such as the potential to properly fold the expressed proteins and the synthesis of more human-like N-glycans on the proteins. However, several constraints, such as expression yields, downstream processing and structural authenticity, currently limit the widespread use of plant expression systems. In this review, the focus is on the current limitations of plant systems for the production of pharmaceuticals and the possibilities to overcome these obstacles. A comparison is made with insect cell and yeast expression systems. Furthermore, the importance of glycosylation, in particular N-glycosylation for the biological function(s) of therapeutics in the human body will be discussed in detail and an overview of the state of art in the humanization of the N-glycosylation pathway in plants is provided. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Nagels B.,Ghent University | Nagels B.,Bayer BioScience N.V. Technologiepark 38 | Van Damme E.J.M.,Ghent University | Callewaert N.,Unit for Medical Biotechnology | And 3 more authors.
Plant Science | Year: 2012

Because the pathway for protein synthesis is largely conserved between plants and animals, plants provide an attractive platform for the cost effective and flexible production of biopharmaceuticals. However, there are some differences in glycosylation between plants and humans that need to be considered before plants can be used as an efficient expression platform.In the presented research the human genes encoding α1,3-mannosyl-β1,4-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (GnT-IV) and α1,6-mannosyl-β1,6-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (GnT-V) were introduced in the fast cycling model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to synthesize tri-antennary N-glycans. The GnT-IV and -V enzymes were targeted to the Golgi apparatus with plant-specific localization signals. The experiments were performed both in a wild type background, as well as in plants lacking β1,2-xylosyltransferase (XylT) and α1,3-fucosyltransferase (FucT) activity. Glycan analysis of endogenous proteins in the transgenic lines using CE-LIF showed that tri-antennary N-glycans could be produced in the XylT/FucT deficient line, while these structures were not found in the wild type background. Since β-N-acetylhexosaminidases, that remove terminal GlcNAcs, are active in A. thaliana plants, the specificity of these enzymes for different GlcNAc linkages was tested. The results showed that there is no pronounced preference of the A. thaliana hexosaminidases for human-type GlcNAc-linkages. © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

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