Plants have attracted attention as bio-drug production platforms because of their economical and safety benefits. The preliminary efficacy of ZMapp, a cocktail of antibodies produced in N. benthamiana (Nicotiana benthamiana L.), suggested plants may serve as a platform for antibody production. However, because the amino acid sequences of the Fab fragment are diverse and differences in post-transcriptional processes between animals and plants remain to be elucidated, it is necessary to confirm functional equivalence of plant-produced antibodies to the original antibody. In this study, Obinutuzumab, a third generation anti-CD20 antibody, was produced in N. benthamiana leaves (plant-obinutuzumab) and compared to the original antibody produced in glyco-engineered Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells (CHO-obinutuzumab). Two forms (with or without an HDEL tag) were generated and antibody yields were compared. The HDEL-tagged form was more highly expressed than the non-HDEL-tagged form which was cleaved in the N-terminus. To determine the equivalence in functions of the Fab region between the two forms, we compared the CD20 binding affinities and direct binding induced cell death of a CD20-positive B cells. Both forms showed similar CD20 binding affinities and direct cell death of B cell. The results suggested that plant-obinutuzumab was equivalent to CHO-obinutuzumab in CD20 binding, cell aggregation, and direct cell death via binding. Therefore, our findings suggest that Obinutuzumab is a promising biosimilar candidate that can be produced efficiently in plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)