Fc-Fusion proteins exhibit intricate structural diversity and complex glycosylation modifications, necessitating sophisticated techniques for accurate analysis. This article outlines various methodologies for characterizing Fc-Fusion glycosylation, emphasizing the importance of site-specific information to elucidate their functional and safety implications.
Glycoprotein Analysis Approaches
Glycoprotein analysis is tailored based on protein size and structure, encompassing intact and subunit protein level characterization (Top and Middle-up), glycopeptide analysis (Bottom-up), and free glycan profiling. Commonly employed techniques include lectin microarrays, reversed-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC), hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC), anion exchange chromatography (AEX), porous graphitic carbon (PGC), and Capillary electrophoresis (CE). These methods are often coupled with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS), electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), amperometric or fluorescence detection (FD), among others.
Specificity of Fc-Fusion Glycosylation
Fc-Fusion glycosylation is notably more intricate than standard monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), featuring multiple N- and O-glycosylation sites. Consequently, conventional mAb techniques may not be suitable. The characterization of Fc-Fusion glycosylation benefits from a tailored approach.
Hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC) is a cornerstone technique for Fc-Fusion glycan analysis. This method involves enzymatic separation of N-glycans, followed by 2-aminobenzamide (2-AB) labeling, and subsequent HILIC separation. While effective, this approach suffers from lengthy sample preparation times and co-elution. Combining HILIC-FD detection with RapiFluor MS labeling and MS identification overcomes these limitations, providing swifter sample preparation and enhanced sensitivity.
Sialic acid modifications in Fc-Fusion are characterized using N-acetylneuraminic acid and non-human N-glycylneuraminic acid. Anion exchange chromatography (AEX) segregates neutral from sialylated glycans. For non-human Neu5Gc analysis, sialic acid separation and fluorescent labeling with DMB are coupled with reverse-phase liquid chromatography (RPLC) and fluorescence detection (FD).
Given multiple O-glycosylation sites in Fc-Fusion’s non-IgG domain, distinct methodologies are employed. Reductive β-elimination liberates O-glycans, analyzed via porous graphitic carbon (PGC) coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) or MALDI-TOF. The heterogeneous O-glycan core structures necessitate advanced analysis techniques.
Glycosylation Site Specificity
Peptide mapping techniques elucidate glycan site-specific details, crucial for safety and efficacy evaluations. Protease digestion generates peptides and glycopeptides for analysis via mass spectrometry. Chromatographic separation precedes MS detection, ensuring reliable low-abundance carbohydrate characterization. Middle-up methodologies, offering site-specific insights with streamlined sample preparation, are facilitated by 3D-LC/MS.
Glycosylation profoundly impacts Fc-Fusion properties, necessitating comprehensive characterization. The intricate nature of Fc-Fusion glycosylation requires innovative analytical approaches. Robust techniques, including multidimensional LC and ion mobility spectroscopy-mass spectrometry (IM-MS), are promising for future development. Bio-inert chromatography and MS-compatible AEX methods enhance characterization accuracy for heavily sialylated samples. Accurate characterization remains pivotal for understanding Fc-Fusion glycosylation’s biological implications.