Pharm Sci. 2020;26(4): 393-398.
doi: 10.34172/PS.2020.37
  Abstract View: 191
  PDF Download: 77

Research Article

Evaluation of the Effects of Human Beta-Interferon Scaffold Attachment Region (IFN-SAR) on Expression of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-Fc (VEGF-Fc) Fusion Protein Expression in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) Cells

Ehsan Naghneh 1 ORCID logo, Es'hagh Pourmaleki 2,3, Azam Rahimpour 2,3* ORCID logo

1 Department of Genetics, East Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
2 Nano-Technology and Tissue Engineering Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
3 Department of Tissue Engineering and Applied Cell Sciences, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background: Recombinant anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) monoclonal antibodies and Fc-fusion proteins have been widely used for the effective treatment of retinal neovascular diseases. In this regard, VEGFR-Fc fusions, which act as strong VEGF inhibitors, have been approved for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME). Production of monoclonal antibodies and Fc-fusion proteins relies on mammalian host systems such as Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Application of genomic regulatory elements including scaffold/matrix attachment regions (SAR/MARs) can profoundly affect recombinant protein expression in CHO cells.
Methods: To construct the VEGFR-Fc expression vectors, the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene was replaced by the VEGFR-Fc coding sequence in pEGFP-SAR-puro and pEGFP-puro vectors. Recombinant plasmids were transfected to CHO-K1 cells using TurboFect
transfection reagent. VEGFR-Fc expression was evaluated in transiently transfected cells as well as stable cell pools and clones using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results: IFN-SAR showed no significant effect on transient expression of VEGFR-Fc during 72 h of culture. However, a 2.2-fold enhancement in VEGFR-Fc fusion protein titer was observed in IFN-SAR containing stable cell pools. Further evaluation of the VEGFR-Fc expression level in single-cell clones also indicated that clones with the highest VEGFR-Fc expression belonged to the pools transfected with IFN-SAR construct.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that the incorporation of IFN-SAR in expression vector can increase the expression of VEGFR-Fc in stable cell pools as well as single-cell clones. In contrast, transient expression of the fusion protein was not affected by IFN-SAR. More studies are needed to investigate the mechanism underlying this effect, including the analysis of mRNA expression and gene copy number in stable cell pools as well as clonal cells.
Keywords: Chinese hamster ovary cells, Fusion protein, Scaffold/matrix attachment region, Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor
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Submitted: 08 Jan 2020
Revision: 09 May 2020
Accepted: 10 May 2020
ePublished: 25 Dec 2020
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