Effects of kifunensine on production and n-glycosylation modification of butyrylcholinesterase in a transgenic rice cell culture bioreactor

Kantharakorn Macharoen, Qiongyu Li, Veronica A. Márquez-Escobar, Jasmine M. Corbin, Carlito B. Lebrilla, Somen Nandi, Karen A. McDonald

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2 Scopus citations


The production and N-glycosylation of recombinant human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), a model highly glycosylated therapeutic protein, in a transgenic rice cell suspension culture treated with kifunensine, a strong α-mannosidase I inhibitor, was studied in a 5 L bioreactor. A media exchange was performed at day 7 of cultivation by removing spent sugar-rich medium (NB+S) and adding fresh sugar-free (NB-S) medium to induce the rice α-amylase 3D (RAmy3D) promoter to produce rice recombinant human BChE (rrBChE). Using a 1.25X-concentrated sugar-free medium together with an 80% reduced working volume during the media exchange led to a total active rrBChE production level of 79 ± 2 µg (g FW)−1 or 7.5 ± 0.4 mg L−1 in the presence of kifunensine, which was 1.5-times higher than our previous bioreactor runs using normal sugar-free (NB-S) media with no kifunensine treatment. Importantly, the amount of secreted active rrBChE in culture medium was enhanced in the presence of kifunensine, comprising 44% of the total active rrBChE at day 5 following induction. Coomassie-stained SDS-PAGE gel and Western blot analyses revealed different electrophoretic migration of purified rrBChE bands with and without kifunensine treatment, which was attributed to different N-glycoforms. N-Glycosylation analysis showed substantially increased oligomannose glycans (Man5/6/7/8) in rrBChE treated with kifunensine compared to controls. However, the mass-transfer limitation of kifunensine was likely the major reason for incomplete inhibition of α-mannosidase I in this bioreactor study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6896
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2 2020


  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Kifunensine
  • N-glycosylation
  • Plant cell suspension cultures
  • Plant-made biopharmaceuticals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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