(19)
(11)EP 3 725 883 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
21.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/43

(21)Application number: 18889081.8

(22)Date of filing:  14.12.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
C12N 15/12(2006.01)
C12P 21/02(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/046149
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/117295 (20.06.2019 Gazette  2019/25)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 15.12.2017 JP 2017241109

(71)Applicant: Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation at Kobe
Kobe-shi Hyogo 650-0047 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • NABESHIMA Yo-ichi
    Kobe-shi, Hyogo 650-0047 (JP)
  • NABESHIMA Yoko
    Kobe-shi, Hyogo 650-0047 (JP)
  • ABE Chiaki
    Kobe-shi, Hyogo 650-0047 (JP)

(74)Representative: Mewburn Ellis LLP 
Aurora Building Counterslip
Bristol BS1 6BX
Bristol BS1 6BX (GB)

  


(54)METHOD FOR PRODUCING ACTIVE GCMAF


(57) The purpose of the present invention is to provide a method for producing active GcMAF more simply and at a high yield. The present invention is a method for producing active GcMAF comprising a step for culturing host cells which are transfected with a VDBP expression vector in serum-free medium. This culture is preferably a suspension culture. In addition, this method for producing active GcMAF is also characterized by not requiring an enzyme treatment step for deglycosylation.


Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present invention relates to a method for producing active GcMAF.

BACKGROUND ART



[0002] A vitamin-D binding protein (VDBP) is one of glycoproteins synthesized in the liver and secreted into the blood. The VDBP binds to vitamin D and plays a role as its transfer carrier in the blood. The VDBP is also known to bind to G-actin, which leaks out from destroyed cells, and play a role in suppressing an actin polymer from narrowing and clogging the vascular lumen. The VDBP is also called as Gc globulin. The VDBP has three subtypes (VDBP If, VDBP1s, VDBP2) different in part in amino acids and sugar chain structure. Of them, in VDBP1f (Gc1f), a trisaccharide Olinked sugar chain formed by binding sialic acid and galactose to GalNAc is linked to the 418 (420)th threonine. The VDBP containing the trisaccharide O-linked sugar chain is an inactive VDBP, which does not have a function to activate macrophages. However, when sialic acid and galactose are removed by the actions of sialidase and β-galactosidase expressed on the surfaces of T cells and B cells, respectively, and only GalNAc-O-T418 (420) remains, the VDBP is converted into an active form thereof, Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF, hereinafter sometimes referred to as "active GcMAF"), which can activate macrophages (see, Non Patent Documents 1 and 2). The active form thereof, GcMAF is known not only to activate macrophages but also to exhibit an antitumor activity via an antiangiogenic effect (see, Patent Document 1).

[0003] As schematically shown in Fig. 1, the step of converting inactive VDBP into an active form thereof, GcMAF, is complicated. In producing the active GcMAF, a method of purifying inactive VDBP from serum or plasma, and removing sialic acid and galactose by treating the VDBP with sialidase and β-galactosidase, respectively, to leave GalNAc alone is generally employed. However, such a conventional method is complicated because it requires a plurality of steps comprising a step of purifying inactive VDBP from serum or plasma, and a step of treating the obtained VDBP with enzymes. Therefore, a more convenient and easier production method has been desired.

PRIOR ART DOCUMENTS


Patent Document



[0004] Patent Document 1: JP 2003-532682 A

Non Patent Document



[0005] 

Non Patent Document 1: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 1991, 88, 8539-8543

Non Patent Document 2: Anticancer Research, 2005. 25, 3689-3696


SUMMARY OF INVENTION


Technical Problem



[0006] In the circumstances, an object of the present invention is to provide a method for producing active GcMAF more convenient with a high yield.

Solution to Problem



[0007] The present inventors conducted intensive studies with a view to attaining the above object. As a result, the inventors found that the active GcMAF having only GalNAc linked with the 418 (420)th threonine can be efficiently produced by culturing host cells transfected with an inactive VDBP expression vector in a serum-free medium, without an enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation. Based on the finding, the present invention was accomplished. More specifically, the present invention will be summarized a s follows.
  1. [1] A method for producing active Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF), comprising a step of culturing host cells transfected with a vitamin-D binding protein expression vector in a serum-free medium.
  2. [2] The method for producing active GcMAF according to [1], wherein the culture is a suspension culture.
  3. [3] The method for producing active GcMAF according to [1] or [2], comprising no enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation.
  4. [4] The method for producing active GcMAF according to any one of [1] to [3], comprising a purification step by a vitamin-D affinity column.

Advantageous Effects of Invention



[0008] According to the method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention a process of expressing VDBP in cultured cells is employed, and therefore it is not necessary to collect serum, plasma or the like and is also easy to mass-produce the active GcMAF. In addition, it is not necessary to carry out a step of purifying VDBP from serum, plasma or the like, or an enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation. Therefore, the active GcMAF can be efficiently and conveniently produced in fewer steps. Since the active GcMAF, which has been hardly produced in large quantity, can be easily mass-produced by the present invention, the active GcMAF can be suitably used in the fields such as medicines and healthy foods, as an active ingredient.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS



[0009] 

[Fig. 1] Fig. 1 is a diagram schematically showing steps of converting inactive VDBP into active GcMAF.

[Fig. 2] Fig. 2 shows the results of Western Blotting of active GcMAF obtained by using the method of the present invention (CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system).

[Fig. 3] Fig. 3 shows the results of SDS-PAGE (CBB stain) and Western Blotting of active GcMAF (after purifying by vitamin-D affinity column) obtained by using the method of the present invention (CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system).

[Fig. 4] Fig. 4 shows the examination results on an effect of expression of GALANT3 (N-acetyl galactosaminyl transferase 3) on production of active GcMAF.

[Fig. 5] Fig. 5 shows the macrophage activation ability of active GcMAF obtained by using the method of the present invention (CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system).

[Fig. 6] Fig. 6 shows the results of Western Blotting of active GcMAF obtained by using the method of the present invention (CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system).

[Fig. 7] Fig. 7 shows the results of Western Blotting of active GcMAF obtained by using the method of the present invention (HEK293 cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system).

[Fig. 8] Fig. 8 shows the results of SDS-PAGE (CBB stain) of active GcMAF (after purifying by vitamin-D affinity column) obtained by using the method of the present invention (CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system).


DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS



[0010] Now, the method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention will be more specifically described. Note that, in the specification, molecular biology technique, such as preparation of DNA and vectors, can be carried out in accordance with methods described in general biological experimental procedures known to those skilled in the art, or equivalent methods thereto, unless otherwise specified. The terms used in the specification are interpreted as those usually meant in the art, unless otherwise mentioned.

<Method for producing active GcMAF>



[0011] The method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention includes a step of culturing cells transfected with a VDBP expression vector, in a serum-free medium, and is characterized by requiring no enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation of inactive VDBP.

[0012] The method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention is not a method for producing active GcMAF by purifying Gc globulin from plasma or serum but a method of producing active GcMAF by culturing cells transfected with a VDBP expression vector, in a serum-free medium, conveniently without requiring a plurality of steps.

[0013] In the present invention, VDBP refers to vitamin-D binding protein (VDBP), which is also called as Gc globulin or Gc protein, and has three subtypes (If, 1s, 2) different in sugar chain structure. All the subtypes of VDBP have a common structure in which galactose is bound to the center of the sugar chain, i.e., N-acetylgalactosamine via an O-glycosidic bond. In subtype 1f, a trisaccharide formed by binding of galactose and sialic acid to GalNAc is O-linked (see, Fig. 1). In subtype 1s, a trisaccharide formed by binding of galactose and α-mannose to GalNAc is O-linked. In subtype 2, a disaccharide formed by binding of Galactose to GalNAc is O-linked. These all VDBP subtypes are included in the present invention. The VDBP of the present invention is derived from animals, preferably derived from mammals such as a human, a horse, a cow, a sheep, a pig, a dog, a cat, a rabbit, a mouse and a rat. Among them, the VDBP derived from a human is more preferable.

[0014] A VDBP expression vector of the present invention is prepared by artificially inserting a nucleic acid encoding VDBP into an appropriate expression vector by use of a gene recombination technique. According to the method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention, the active GcMAF can be efficiently produced by allowing the expression vector to express in appropriate host cells and culturing the host cells under appropriate culture conditions, without carrying out an enzymatic treatment for deglycosylation of inactive VDBP. Note that, the amino acid sequence and nucleic acid sequence of VDBP are known and sequence information registered in a database such as GenBank can be used.

[0015] The VDBP expression vector of the present invention may be an expression vector in which a nucleic acid encoding any of the subtypes, VDBP1f, VDBP1s and VDBP2 is inserted; and in particular, a VDBP1f expression vector in which a nucleic acid encoding VDBP1f is inserted and a VDBP1s expression vector in which a nucleic acid encoding VDBP1s is inserted are preferable, and the VDBP1f expression vector is more preferable. The nucleic acid sequences encoding VDBP1f, VDBP1s and VDBP2 are shown as SEQ ID No. 1, SEQ ID No. 2 and SEQ ID No. 3, respectively, in the sequence listing. The amino acid sequences of VDBP1f, VDBP1s and VDBP2 are shown as SEQ ID No. 4, SEQ ID No. 5 and SEQ ID No. 6, respectively. As the nucleic acid sequence to be inserted into a VDBP expression vector, a sequence with an optimized translation activity is preferable, and the optimized nucleic acid sequence of VDBP1f is shown as SEQ ID No. 7 and the amino acid sequence corresponding thereto is shown as SEQ ID No. 8. The optimized nucleic acid sequence of VDBP1s is shown as SEQ ID No. 10 and the amino acid sequence corresponding thereto is shown as SEQ ID No. 11. The optimized nucleic acid sequence of VDBP2 is shown as SEQ ID No. 12, and the amino acid sequence corresponding thereto is shown as SEQ ID No. 13. The optimized nucleic acid sequence of VDBP1f tagged with a His-Tag is shown as SEQ ID No. 9; the optimized nucleic acid sequence of VDBP1s tagged with a His-Tag is shown as SEQ ID No. 14; and the optimized nucleic acid sequence of VDBP2 tagged with a His-Tag is shown as SEQ ID No. 15.

[0016] The VDBP expression vector of the present invention may further have a tag sequence such as a His-Tag, an HA-Tag and/or a FLAG-Tag for easily recovering VDBP from a culture medium of cells expressing the VDBP. For example, a Hs GcMAF-Gc1f-Histag sequence (SEQ ID No. 9) or a Hs GcMAF-Gc1s-Histag sequence (SEQ ID No. 14) formed by linking a His-Tag to a human GcMAF subtype Gclf or Gc1s is preferable.

[0017] A VDBP expression vector is constructed by a method conventionally known to those skilled in the art and can be expressed in appropriate host cells, and thus the specific method is not particularly limited. The host cells into which a VDBP expression vector is to be transfected are not particularly limited as long as the cells can efficiently express VDBP. Examples of the host cells include CHO cells and HEK293 cells. Among them, CHO cells are preferable, and particularly, ExpiCHO (TM) (Gibco (TM)) cells are preferable.

[0018] In the present invention, the cells transfected with a VDBP expression vector are cultured in a serum-free medium. The serum-free medium is not particularly limited as long as it is a medium containing no serum. Examples of the serum-free medium include an IMDM medium, a Medium 199, an Eagle's minimum essential medium (EMEM), an αMEM medium, a Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM), a Ham's F12 medium, an RPMI 1640 medium, a Fischer's medium, a MCDB201 medium, an ExpiCHO (TM) expression medium (Gibco (TM)) and a mixed medium thereof. Among them, an ExpiCHO (TM) expression medium (Gibco (TM)) is preferable.

[0019] To the serum-free mediums as mentioned above, if necessary, one or more serum substitutes, such as albumin, transferrin, fatty acid, insulin, sodium selenite, cholesterol, a collagen precursor, trace elements, 2-mercaptoethanol and 3'-thiol glycerol, may be added. To the mediums, if necessary, a substance, such as a lipid, amino acid, a protein, a polysaccharide, a vitamin, a growth factor, a low molecular weight compound, an antibiotic substance, an antioxidant, pyruvic acid, a buffer and an inorganic salt, may further be added.

[0020] In the present invention, as a method for culturing cells transfected with a VDBP expression vector, it is preferable to employ a method of suspension-culturing the cells transfected with a VDBP expression vector in any one of the aforementioned serum-free mediums under the conditions of 37°C, 8% CO2, and 120 rpm. The density of the cells to be cultured is 1 × 103 cells/mL to 1 × 107 cells/mL, preferably 1 × 104 cells/mL to 1 × 106 cells/mL and more preferably 1 × 105 cells/mL to 1 × 106 cells/mL. The number of culture days is 2 days to 14 days, preferably 3 days to 10 days and more preferably 5 days to 8 days. The number of culture days can be appropriately adjusted while monitoring the survival rate of the cells. When the cells transfected with a VDBP expression vector are cultured under such conditions, the active GcMAF having no sugar chain as a result of deglycosylation can be obtained in the culture medium, even though an enzymatic treatment is not carried out. Requiring no enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation is one of the major characteristics of the method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention.

[0021] As a method for recovering active GcMAF from the culture medium obtained above, it is possible to employ a method using an affinity column, in which a resin allowing specific recovery of a protein having a tag such as the His-Tag is used. For example, in recovering a His-tagged protein, a metal chelate affinity column coordinated with a nickel ion can be utilized to recover the protein with high purity. After the protein is allowed to bind to the column, e.g., imidazole is added. In this manner, the His-Tag can dissociate from the nickel-coordinated column to elute active GcMAF having the His tag.

[0022] Examples of other methods for recovering active GcMAF from the culture medium obtained in the above include a method using a vitamin-D affinity column (also referred to as "Vit. D affinity column") such as a 25(OH)D3 Sepharose CL-6B column. More specifically, the culture medium obtained above is applied onto a HiPrep Sephacryl S300 column. The eluted sample is further applied onto a Vit. D affinity column (25(OH)D3 Sepharose CL-6B) to purify VDBP. A binding buffer containing 50 mM Tris-HCl, 15 mM EDTA, 150 mM NaCl and 0.1% TritonX100 (pH 7.4), and an elution buffer of a 6 M guanidine HCl can be used. The eluted sample is dialyzed against 10 mM Sodium phosphate, then subjected to SDS-PAGE, and stained with CBB to confirm that VDBP is purified as a single band. According to this method, VDBP can also be separated from a contaminant protein which is approximately 60 kDa.

[0023] The active GcMAF obtained by the method of the present invention has a function to activate macrophages. The function to activate macrophages herein refers to a function to facilitate the phagocytic capacity, particularly phagocytic capacity via an Fc receptor, active oxygen producing capacity, antigen presentation capacity and the like of macrophages. The active GcMAF obtained by the method of the present invention can be evaluated by treating mouse macrophages or the like with the active GcMAF and determining an improvement in phagocytic ability for SRBC (sheep red blood cells) via an Fc receptor. More specifically, the experimental method specifically described in the following Examples, Section 4, can be used.

EXAMPLES



[0024] The present invention will be more specifically described by way of the following Examples; however, the present invention is not limited by these Examples.

1. One-step method for synthesizing active GcMAF by using CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system



[0025] ExpiCHO (TM) (Gibco (TM)) cells were transfected with a human VDBP1f expression vector (obtained by inserting a Hs GcMAF-Gc1f-Histag into a site downstream of the CMV promoter of pcDNA3.4-TOPO (Thermo Fisher Scientific); hereinafter, referred to as Hs GcMAF-Gc1f-Histag vector) and a GALANT3 gene expression vector (16ACJOMP_GALNT3_pcDNA3.4-TOPO; invitrogen), and the cells were suspension-cultured in a serum-free medium (ExpiCHO (TM) expression medium, Gibco (TM)). Culture was carried out in accordance with the Protocol of Gibco (TM) ExpiCHO (TM) expression system. The amounts (µg) of Hs GcMAF-Gc1f-Histag vector and GALANT3 gene expression vector and the Culture volume (mL) were as shown in the following Table 1.
[Table 1]
 Hs GcMAF-Gc1F-Histag(µg)GALANT3(µg)Culture volume(mL)
Condition 1 15 2 30
Condition 2 20 2 25


[0026] After culturing for 8 days, the cell-culture supernatant was applied onto a His-Trap column (manufactured by GE healthcare). The trapped proteins were collected and dialyzed against a 50 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). After the dialysis, the sample was separated by SDS-PAGE, and the proteins were transferred onto a membrane. Western Blot was carried out by using an anti-His antibody or an anti-DVBP antibody (Fig. 2A). Further, VDBPs (5 µg) obtained from the "condition 1" and "condition 2" were treated with 1 mU sialidase (Neuraminidase) and 1 mU galactosidase (β-D-Galactosidase) at 37°C for 3 hours. The samples treated with the enzymes and the samples not treated with the enzymes were separately subjected to SDS-PAGE and analyzed for sugar chain structure by blotting with a lectin (biotin conjugated HPA lectin) capable of reacting with GalNAc. As a result, the samples not treated with the enzymes were also reactive to HPA lectin. It was thus demonstrated that active GcMAF can be obtained by use of the serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention even if the above enzymatic treatment is not carried out. The amount of VDBP reacted with HPA lectin did not increase even when the enzymatic treatment was carried out. It was thus demonstrated that almost the whole amount of VDBP can be obtained as active GcMAF by use of the serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention is used (Fig. 2B).

[0027] The above mentioned VDBP samples were each separated by SDS-PAGE and stained with CBB. As a result, an apparent VDBP band at near 53 kDa and another band at near 60 kDa were observed. To separate the VDBP band at near 53 kDa and the band at near 60 kDa, the sample was applied onto a HiPrep Sephacryl S300 column followed by applying the eluted sample onto a Vit. D affinity column (25(OH)D3 sepharose CL-6B) to purify the VDBP. As a binding buffer, a solution containing 50 mM Tris-HCl, 15 mM EDTA, 150 mM NaCl and 0.1% Triton (R) X-100 (pH 7.4) was used. As an elution buffer, 6 M guanidine HCl was used. The eluted sample was dialyzed against 10 mM sodium phosphate, then subjected to SDS-PAGE and stained with CBB. It was demonstrated that the VDBP is purified as a single band by purification with a Vit. D affinity column; more specifically, can be separated from a band at near 60 kDa (Fig. 3A). Further, the single band was recognized by an anti-VDBP antibody in western blotting (Fig. 3B).

[0028] As mentioned above, it was found that active GcMAF can be produced in one step by a production method of VDBP using the CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system, but at the same time, a contaminant protein which is approximately 60 kDa is present. It was confirmed that GcMAF and the 60 kDa contaminant protein can be separated for purification by means of a Vit. D affinity column.

[0029] The results demonstrate that when VDBP is produces by using the CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention, the active GcMAF to which only GalNAc linked can be produced in one step. Furthermore, a contaminant protein which is approximately 60 kDa can be efficiently separated off by use of a Vit. D affinity column. According to the method of the present invention, the GcMAF is highly expressed (3 to 5 mg/20 mL culture). In this sense, the method of the present invention may be as the most suitable one-step production method for active GcMAF, as far as known at present.

2. Study of expression induction of GALANT3 affecting GcMAF production



[0030] Whether the linking efficiency of GalNAc to the 418/420th threonine of VDBP is influenced by co-expression of a glycosylation enzyme such as GALANT3 was analyzed.

[0031] ExpiCHO (TM) (Gibco (TM)) cells were transfected with a human VDBP1f expression vector and a GALANT3 gene expression vector, and the cells were suspension-cultured in a serum-free medium (ExpiCHO (TM) expression medium, Gibco (TM)). Culture was carried out in accordance with the Protocol of Gibco (TM) ExpiCHO (TM) expression system. The amounts (µg) of Hs GcMAF-Gc1f-Histag vector and GALANT3 gene expression vector and the Culture volume (mL) were as shown in the following Table 2.
[Table 2]
 Hs GcMAF-Gc1F-Histag(µg)GALANT3(µg)Culture volume(mL)
Condition 1 20 10 25
Condition 2 20 4 25
Condition 3 20 0 25


[0032] After culturing for 7 days (37°C, 8%CO2, 120 rpm), the cell-culture supernatant was applied onto a His-Trap column (GE healthcare). The trapped proteins were collected and dialyzed against a 50 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). The eluted sample was separated by SDS-PAGE, and the proteins were transferred onto a membrane. Western Blot was carried out by using an anti-VDBP antibody (Fig. 4A). Further, the sugar chain structure was analyzed with biotin conjugated HPA lectin which is capable of reacting with GalNAc (Fig. 4B). Even under the conditions using no GALANT3 (condition 3), the band was reactive to HPA lectin. It was therefore demonstrated that co-expression of GALANT3 does not influence the expression level of the VDBP and GalNAc glycosylation efficiency.

[0033] The result shows that co-expression of a glycosylation enzyme GALANT3 does not influence the expression level of VDBP and GalNAc glycosylation efficiency. The possibility that the glycosylation enzyme has been originally expressed in a sufficient level in CHO cells was considered. More specifically, also in a one-step method for producing active GcMAF by using the CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention, co-expression of GALANT3 is certainly not essential in ExpiCHO (TM) (Gibco (TM)) cells.

3. Measurement of phagocytic activity of macrophages through active GcMAF produced by one-step method of the present invention



[0034] ICR mice (female) of 7 weeks old were purchased from Japan SLC, Inc. After cervical dislocation, the skin was stripped off. Into the abdominal cavity of the ICR mice, cold DPBS (5 ml) was injected. The abdomen was rubbed, and then, the peritoneal fluid containing peritoneal cells was collected and centrifuged 1,000 rpm for 15 minutes at 4°C. The supernatant was removed, and then an appropriate amount of RPMI1640 medium (THERMOFICHER SCIENTIFIC) was added. The cells were stained with trypan blue and counted. The density of the cells was adjusted by RPMI1640 medium to 1.0 × 106 cells/mL and 500 µL of the resultant cell suspension was inoculated to each well of a plate, in which a cover glass was previously sunk, to 5.0 × 105 cells/well. RPMI1640 medium (500 µL) was further added and pre-culture was carried out at 37.5°C for one hour to allow macrophages to attach onto the cover glass. The supernatant was removed and the layer of attached macrophages was washed. RPMI1640 medium was added and culture was carried out at 37°C, overnight. The supernatant was removed and 990 µL of RPMI1640 medium was added. The active GcMAF (1 ng) (10 µL, final concentration 1 ng/mL) obtained by purifying in the above was added. As a positive control, 1 µg of a lipopolysaccharide (LPS, Sigma) (10 µL, final concentration 1 µg/mL) was added. Culture was carried out under the conditions of 37°C and 5% CO2 for 3 hours. After removal of the supernatant, 0.5% SRBC (CEDARLANE, CLD68) opsonized with IgG by reaction with Anti-Sheep Red Blood Cell Stroma antibody (Abcam plc., ab50674) was added and allowed macrophages to ingest the SRBCs for 90 minutes. The cover glasses were taken out from the wells and dried at room temperature. Macrophages were fixed with methanol, dried by a dryer, and stained by using a Giemsa staining solution diluted 20 fold with DPBS for one hour. The cover glasses were washed with tap water and dried at room temperature overnight. The cover glasses were allowed to adhere to glass slides and observed by a microscope (400 magnification). The ingested SRBCs were counted and the ingestion index was calculated by the following formula to evaluate the phagocytic activity of the macrophages. The results are shown in Fig. 5.



[0035] As shown in Fig. 5, it was found that the GcMAF obtained by the CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention has an effect to facilitate the phagocytic capacity of macrophages (macrophage activation effect). The GcMAF obtained by the CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention exhibited a macrophage activation effect corresponding to that of 1 µg/mL of LPS used as a positive control in a dose as low as 1 ng/mL. Consequently, according to the method of the present invention, active GcMAF having a high specific activity can be obtained efficiently.

4. One-step method for producing active GcMAF subtypes (If, 1s, 2) using CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system



[0036] ExpiCHO (TM) (Gibco (TM)) cells were transfected with a human VDBP1f, VDBP1s or VDBP2 expression vector, and the cells were suspension-cultured in a serum-free medium (ExpiCHO (TM) expression medium, Gibco (TM)). Culture was carried out in accordance with the Protocol of Gibco (TM) ExpiCHO (TM) expression system. Hs GcMAF-Gc1s or Hs GcMAF-Gc2-Histag was used in an amount of 15 µg.

[0037] After culturing for 8 days, the cell-culture supernatant was applied onto a His-Trap column (manufactured by GE healthcare). The trapped proteins were collected and dialyzed against a 50 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). After the dialysis, the sample was separated by SDS-PAGE. VDBP (5 µg) was treated with 1 mU sialidase (neuraminidase) and 1 mU galactosidase (β-D-galactosidase) at 37°C for 3 hours. The samples treated with the enzymes and the samples not treated with the enzymes were separately subjected to SDS-PAGE and analyzed sugar chain structure by blotting with a lectin (biotin conjugated HPA lectin) capable of reacting with an anti-VDBP antibody and GalNAc. Note that If subtype was produced by the method described in the section "1. One-step method for producing active GcMAF by using CHO cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system", treated with a Vit. D affinity column (25(OH)D3 sepharose CL-6B) and used as a sample. As a result, the samples of 1s and 1f subtypes not treated with the enzymes were also reactive to HPA lectin. It was thus demonstrated that active GcMAF can be obtained by use of the serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention even if the above enzymatic treatment is not applied. The amount of VDBP reacted with HPA lectin did not increase even when the enzymatic treatment was applied. It was thus demonstrated that almost the whole amount of VDBP can be obtained as active GcMAF by use of the serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention (Fig. 6).

[0038] After the dialysis, VDBP samples were applied onto a HiPrep Sephacryl S300 column. The eluted samples were applied onto a Vit. D affinity column (25(OH)D3 sepharose CL-6B) to purify VDBP. As a binding buffer, a solution containing 50 mM Tris-HCl, 15 mM EDTA, 150 mMNaCl and 0.1% Triton (R) X-100 (pH 7.4) was used. As an elution buffer, 6 M guanidine HCl was used. The eluted samples were dialyzed against 10 mM sodium phosphate, then subjected to SDS-PAGE and stained with CBB. It was demonstrated that VDBP is purified as a single band by purification with the Vit. D affinity column; more specifically, can be separated from a band at near 60 kDa (Fig. 8).

5. One-step method for producing active GcMAF by using HEK293/serum-free medium/suspension culture system



[0039] Expi 293 (Gibco (TM)) cells were transfected with a human VDBP1f expression vector, and the cells were suspension-cultured in a serum-free medium (ExpiCHO (TM) expression medium, Gibco (TM)). Culture was carried out in accordance with the Protocol of Gibco (TM) Expi293 expression system. The VDBP1f expression vector (Hs GcMAF-Gclf-Histag vector) was used in an amount of 20 µg.

[0040] After culturing for 8 days, the cell-culture supernatant was applied onto a His-Trap column (GE healthcare). The trapped proteins were collected and dialyzed against a 50 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.0). VDBP (5 µg) was treated with 1 mU sialidase (neuraminidase) and 1 mU galactosidase (β-D-galactosidase) at 37°C for 3 hours. The samples treated with the enzymes and the samples not treated with the enzymes were separately subjected to SDS-PAGE and analyzed sugar chain structure by blotting with a lectin (biotin conjugated HPA lectin), which reacts with GalNAc. As a result, the samples not treated with enzymes were also reactive to HPA lectin. It was thus demonstrated that when the HEK293 cells are used as host cells, active GcMAF can be obtained even if the above enzymatic treatment is not applied, similarly to the case of CHO cells (Fig. 7).

[0041] As described in the foregoing, according to the method for producing active GcMAF by using the host cells/serum-free medium/suspension culture system of the present invention, it was found that active GcMAF can be efficiently produced by one step without an enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY



[0042] According to the method for producing active GcMAF of the present invention employing a step of expressing VDBP by cultured cells, it is not necessary to collect serum, plasma or the like and is also easy to mass-produce the active GcMAF. In addition, it is not necessary to carry out a step of purifying VDBP from serum, plasma or the like, and an enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation. Therefore, the active GcMAF can be efficiently and conveniently produced by fewer steps. Since the active GcMAF, which has been hardly produced in a large quantity, can be easily mass-produced by the present invention, the active GcMAF can be suitably used in medicines and healthy foods as an active ingredient.












































Claims

1. A method for producing active Gc protein-derived macrophage activating factor (GcMAF), comprising a step of culturing host cells transfected with a vitamin-D binding protein expression vector in a serum-free medium.
 
2. The method for producing active GcMAF according to claim 1, wherein the culture is a suspension culture.
 
3. The method for producing active GcMAF according to claim 1 or 2, comprising no enzymatic treatment step for deglycosylation.
 
4. The method for producing active GcMAF according to any one of claims 1 to 3, comprising a purification step by a vitamin-D affinity column.
 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description