Miladys Limonta, Lourdes Zumalacarregui, Urska Vidic, Nika Lendero Krajnc

The main component of the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) candidate vaccine against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the pIDKE2 plasmid. The current designed downstream process for the production of pIDKE2 fulfils all regulatory requirements and renders the required quantities of pharamceutical-grade plasmid DNA (pDNA)with 95% purity. The advantages of this procedure include high plasmid purity and the elimination of undesirable additives. such as toxic organic extractants and animal-derived enzymes. However, yields and consequently the productivity of the process are low. Previous work demonstrated that the most critical step of the process is the reverse phase chromatography, where conventional porous particle resins are used. Therefore, to increase the process productivity alternative technologies such as membranes and chromatographic monoliths were tested as alternative options for this critical step. Here, a comparison between the behaviours of CIM® C4-HLD and Sartobind phenyl matrices was performed.

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Zunyang Ke, Yu Wang and Zhongming Li

Anion-exchange chromatography is a key capture step in downstream processing plasmid DNA (pDNA). Separation of pDNA using traditional particle-based anion-exchange supports is usually slow and has a low capacity for pDNA due to steric exclusion effects. Due to convective mass transfer properties, and large flow-through channels for binding large biomolecules, monoliths have been shown to provide a fast and efficient alternative for pDNA purification. This study describes the use of monoliths for purification of a therapeutic pDNA vaccine against multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB).

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A.M. Almeida, J.A. Queiroz, F. Sousa, A. Sousa

Journal of Chromatography B, 978–979 (2015) 145–150

The progress of DNA vaccines is dependent on the development of suitable chromatographic procedures to successfully purify genetic vectors, such as plasmid DNA. Human Papillomavirus is associated with the development of tumours due to the oncogenic power of E6 and E7 proteins, produced by this virus. The supercoiled HPV-16 E6/E7 plasmid-based vaccine was recently purified with the arginine monolith, with 100% of purity, but only 39% of recovery was achieved. Therefore, the present study describes the application of experimental design tools, a newly explored methodology in preparative chromatography, in order to improve the supercoiled plasmid DNA recovery with the arginine monolith, maintaining the high purity degree. In addition, the importance and influence of pH in the pDNA retention to the arginine ligand was also demonstrated. The Composite Central Face design was validated and the recovery of the target molecule was successfully improved from 39% to 83.5%, with an outstanding increase of more than double, while maintaining 100% of purity.

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M. Peterka, P. Kramberger, A. Štrancar

Wang, Perry G. (ur.). Monolithic chromatography and its modern applications. St Albans: ILM publications, 2010, pg. 489-508

Downstream processing (DSP) for purification can become a significant bottleneck in the production of novel biotherapeutics, such as viral vectors and vaccines (viral or DNA). Although different techniques can be used for the purification of large molecules and particles, liquid chromatography is the preferred method as it achieves the purity required by regulatory agencies. Despite the popularity of conventional chromatographic media, the diffusional mass transfer of large molecules and relatively small pore size remain limiting factors for the efficient separation of large biomolecules and particles.

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M. Peterka, P. Kramberger, A. Štrancar

WANG, Perry G. (ur.). Monolithic chromatography and its modern applications. St Albans: ILM publications, 2010, pg. 489-508

Downstream processing (DSP) for purification can become a significant bottleneck in the production of novel biotherapeutics, such as viral vectors and vaccines (viral or DNA). Although different techniques can be used for the purification of large molecules and particles, liquid chromatography is the preferred method as it achieves the purity required by regulatory agencies. Despite the popularity of conventional chromatographic media, the diffusional mass transfer of large molecules and relatively small pore size remain limiting factors for the efficient separation of large biomolecules and particles. Methacrylate monoliths are a single-piece chromatographic support that consists of a highly porous material with an interconnected network of channels. The transport mechanism is predominantly based on convection, which allows rapid mass transfer between the mobile and stationary phase and so results in short separation times. Additionally, most of the active sites are located in the open, large channel structure and are therefore easily accessible, which results in a high DBC (DBC) for large molecules and viral particles. These characteristics make methacrylate monoliths an ideal chromatographic support for the separation and purification of extremely large molecules, such as large proteins, different types of DNA and virus particles.

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P. Kramberger, D. Glover, A. Štrancar

American Biotechnology Laboratory, 2003, 21(13), 27-8.

Research in molecular and cell biology has shown that macromolecules such as pDNA and virus vectors, together called nanoparticles, have the potential to assist in the prevention and treatment of some human diseases. The most important step in their production is the downstream processing (isolation and cleaning). Precipitation, ultrafiltration, and LC techniques are the most widely used for these purposes, but only LC can purify the product so that it is recognized as safe for therapeutic use. Apart from reduced yield, downstream processing can cause minor or even major modifications in the structure of the biomolecule. Usually these modifications do not affect the activity of the product, but may change its antigenicity. Minimizing these changes to maintain product safety is the main objective in the downstream processing of nanoparticles. For the efficient isolation of labile biomolecules, liquid chromatographic supports should provide fast and efficient separation in order to decrease biomolecule degradation; have high, preferably flow-unaffected capacity and resolution; and exhibit low backpressure. They should be stable, even if harsh conditions are applied during sanitation (e.g., 1 M NaOH), and should be easy to handle and operate. CIM® (Convection Interaction Media) monolithic chromatographic columns (BIA Separations, Ljubljana, Slovenia) meet all of these requirements. This article will discuss the columns and their use on human models and plant viruses and pDNA.

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J. Ivancic-Jelecki, M. Brgles, M. Šantak, D. Forčić

Journal of Chromatography A 1216 (2009) 2717-2724

Human plasma is an important medical substance and a raw material for production of various therapeutics. During blood sampling, storage and processing, genomic DNA is released into plasma from nucleated blood cells that are damaged in the course of the procedure. In order to determine the concentration of contaminating DNA in plasma, we developed a method for DNA isolation by using anion-exchange chromatography on a BIA Separations CIM (convective interaction media) diethylaminoethyl column. DNA was quantified by SYBR Green based real-time polymerase chain reaction. The concentration of cell-free, non-apoptotic DNA in plasma ranged between 0.06 and 22.5 ng/ml. As substantial volumes of plasma or whole blood are administered directly into the vascular system, a recipient is exposed to high amounts of cell-free DNA, several orders of magnitude higher than the amount found in other biologicals.

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M. Ćurković Perica, I. Šola, L. Urbas, F. Smrekar, M. Krajačić

Journal of Chromatography A 1216 (2009) 2712-2716

A procedure based on BIA Separations CIM DEAE anion-exchange chromatography was developed to separate double-stranded (ds) RNA of hypovirus infecting phytopathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica. Using a linear gradient of 25 mM 4-morpholinepropanesulfonic acid (MOPS), pH 7.0 as a binding buffer, and 25 mM MOPS, 1.5 M NaCl, 0.1 mM EDTA, 15% isopropanol (v/v), pH 7.0 as an elution buffer, hypoviral dsRNA was additionally purified from nucleic acid species present in preparations partially purified by standard CF-11 cellulose chromatography. Moreover, crude phenol/chloroform extracts of the fungal tissue were also applied to monolithic supports and CIM DEAE chromatograms revealed clear evidence for hypoviral presence without CF-11 chromatography, nucleic acid precipitation, and electrophoresis.

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J. Urthaler, R. Schlegl, A. Podgornik, A. Štrancar, A. Jungbauer, R. Necina

Journal of Chromatography A 1065 (2005) 93-106

The demand of high-purity plasmid DNA (pDNA) for gene-therapy and genetic vaccination is still increasing. For the large scale production of pharmaceutical grade plasmids generic and economic purification processes are needed. Most of the current processes for pDNA production use at least one chromatography step, which always constitutes as the key-step in the purification sequence. Monolithic chromatographic supports are an alternative to conventional supports due to their excellent mass transfer properties and their high binding capacity for pDNA. Anion-exchange chromatography is the most popular chromatography method for plasmid separation, since polynucleotides are negatively charged independent of the buffer conditions. For the implementation of a monolith-based anion exchange step into a pDNA purification process detailed screening experiments were performed. These studies included supports, ligand-types and ligand-densities and optimization of resolution and productivity. For this purpose model plasmids with a size of 4.3 and 6.9 kilo base pairs (kbp) were used. It could be shown, that up-scaling to the production scale using 800 ml CIM Convective Interaction Media radial flow monoliths is possible under low pressure conditions. CIM DEAE was successfully implemented as intermediate step of the cGMP pDNA manufacturing process. Starting from 200 l fermentation aliquots pilot scale purification runs were performed in order to prove scale-up and to predict further up-scaling to 8 l tube monolithic columns. The analytical results obtained from these runs confirmed suitability for pharmaceutical applications.

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D. Forčić, K. Branović-Čakanić, J. Ivančić, R. Jug, M. Barut, A. Štrancar

Journal of Chromatography A 1065 (2005) 115-120

The isolation and purification of nucleic acids is essential for many procedures in molecular biology. After showing that bacterial and eukaryotic genomic DNA can be specifically bound to the CIM DEAE monolithic column, this characteristic was exploited in development of a simple and fast chromatographic procedure for isolation and purification of genomic DNA from cell lysates that does not include the usage of toxic organic solutions. The purity and the quality of the isolate as well as the duration of the procedure was similar to other chromatographic methods used today for isolation of genomic DNA, but the initial sample volume was not restricted.

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S. Jerman, A. Podgornik, K. Cankar, N. Čadež, M. Skrt, J. Žel, P. Raspor

Journal of Chromatography A 1065 (2005) 107-113

The availability of sufficient quantities of DNA of adequate quality is crucial in polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods for genetically modified food detection. In this work, the suitability of anion-exchange CIM (Convective Interaction Media; BIA Separations, Ljubljana, Slovenia) monolithic columns for isolation of DNA from food was studied. Maize and its derivates corn meal and thermally pre-treated corn meal were chosen as model food. Two commercially available CIM disk columns were tested: DEAE (diethylaminoethyl) and QA (quaternary amine). Preliminary separations were performed with standard solution of salmon DNA at different pH values and different NaCl concentrations in mobile phase. DEAE groups and pH 8 were chosen for further isolations of DNA from a complex matrix—food extract. The quality and quantity of isolated DNA were tested on agarose gel electrophoresis, with UV-scanning spectrophotometry, and by amplification with real-time PCR. DNA isolated in this way was of suitable quality for further PCR analyses. The described method is also applicable for DNA isolation from processed foods with decreased DNA content. Furthermore, it is more effective and less time-consuming in comparison with the existing proposed methods for isolation of DNA from plant-derived foods.

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M. Brgles, B Halassy, J. Tomašić, M. Šantak, D. Forčić, M. Barut, A. Štrancar

Journal of Chromatography A 1144 (2007) 150-154

A high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method for the determination of DNA entrapment efficiency in liposomes has been developed. Plasmid DNA was encapsulated into positively charged liposomes. Non-entrapped DNA was separated by ultracentrifugation from liposomes and supernatant was chromatographed on Convective Interaction Media (CIM) DEAE disk. The elution of DNA was monitored by the absorbance at 260 nm and the quantity of DNA in the tested sample was calculated from the integrated peak areas using the appropriate standard curve. This method is fast, simple, precise and does not require any kind of DNA labelling in contrast with mostly used methods for determination of DNA entrapment efficiency.

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S. Yamamoto, M. Nakamura, C. Tarmann, A. Jungbauer

Journal of Chromatography A 1216 (2009) 2616-2620

Our previous study has shown that there is a good correlation between the number of charges of DNA (from trimer to 50-mer) and the number of binding sites B in electrostatic interaction chromatography (ion-exchange chromatography, IEC). It was also found that high salt (NaCl) concentration is needed to elute large DNAs (>0.6 M). In this paper we further performed experiments with large DNAs (up to 95-mer polyT and polyA) and charged liposome particles of different sizes (ca. 30, 50 and 100 nm) with a monolithic anion-exchange disk in order to understand the binding and elution mechanism of very large charged biomolecules or particles. The peak salt (NaCl) concentration increased with increasing DNA length. However, above 50-mer DNAs the value did not increase significantly with DNA length (ca. 0.65–0.70 M). For liposome particles of different sizes the peak salt concentration (ca. 0.62 M) was similar and slightly lower than that for large DNAs (ca. 0.65–0.70 M). The binding site values (ca. 25–30) are smaller than those for large DNAs. When arginine was used as a mobile phase modulator, the elution position of polyA and polyT became very close whereas in NaCl gradient elution polyT appeared after polyA eluted. This was mainly due to suppression of hydrophobic interaction by arginine.

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S. Yamamoto, M. Nakamura, C. Tarmann, A. Jungbauer

Journal of chromatography 1144 (2007) 155-160

Linear gradient elution experiments were carried out on monolithic anion-exchange chromatography (AEC) with oligo-DNAs of various sizes (4–50mer, molecular weight MW = 1200–15,000) and compositions in order to investigate the retention mechanism. The binding site (B) values as well as the peak salt elution concentration IR values were determined. The B values determined for the monolithic AEC were similar to the values for non-porous AEC and porous AEC. The B value increased linearly with the number of charges (bases) of single-strand DNA when MW is less than ca. 3600 (12mer). When MW is greater than 6000, the slope of B versus MW decreased, and became very small at MW > 30,000. The IR value also increased linearly with MW for MW < 6000, and slightly with MW for MW > 10,000. It was shown that a very difficult separation of a single-strand 50mer poly(T) and a double-strand 50mer poly(A) and poly(T) was accomplished within 10 min by using a very shallow gradient at a high initial salt concentration (0.5 M) and a high flow-velocity (2.7 cm/min).

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R. Giovannini, R. Freitag, T. B. Tennikova

Anal. Chem. 1998, 70, 3348-3354

Membrane adsorbers are well established in protein chromatography. The present paper investigated for the first time the behavior of polynucleotides on these stationary phases, taking a 7.2-kb predominantly supercoiled plasmid as example. Gradient and isocratic elution was studied. In contrast to protein high-performance membrane chromatography (HPMC), isocratic elution is possible in DNA chromatography. In the case of gradient elution, much higher salt concentrations can be used in the starting buffer. Under optimized conditions, both approaches led to a splitting of the single plasmid peak into three maximums, which corresponded to the threealbeit isolated bands in the agarose gel. Presumably the three fractions were supercoiled, nicked, and open circular plasmid DNA. Linearization of the plasmid lowered the adsorption energy, and the linearized plasmid eluted earlier than the nonlinearized one. The HPMC experiments were compared to similar ones performed using a conventional packed-bed anion-exchange column (BioScale Q2, 7 × 52 mm, 10-μm porous particles) and a novel monolithic-type anion-exchange column (UNO Q1, 7 × 35 mm). The results and characteristic differences observed in these experiments were interpreted in the light of the newly developed theory of HPMC.

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D. Forčić, K. Branovič Čakanič, J. Ivančič, R. Jug, M. Barut, A. Štrancar, R. Mazuran

Analytical Biochemistry 336 (2005) 273-278

Analysis of crude samples from biotechnological processes is often required to demonstrate that residual host cell impurities are reduced or eliminated during purification. Current knowledge suggests that a continuous-cell-line DNA can be considered a cellular contaminant rather than a significant risk factor requiring removal to extremely low levels. Anion-exchange chromatography is one of the most important methods used in the downstream processing and analysis of different biomolecules. In this article, an application using Convective Interaction Media monolithic columns to improve the detection of residual cellular DNA is described.

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K. Benčina, M. Benčina, A. Podgornik, A. Štrancar

Journal of Chromatography A, 1160 (2007) 176–183

The chromatography of mechanically sensitive macromolecules still represents a challenge. While larger pores can reduce the mechanically induced cleavage of large macromolecules and column clogging, the column performance inevitably decreases. To investigate the effect of pore size on the mechanical degradation of DNA, column permeability and enzyme biological activity, methacrylate monoliths with different pore sizes were tested. Monolith with a 143 nm pore radius mechanically damaged the DNA and was clogged at flow rates above 0.5 ml min−1 (26 cm h−1). For monoliths with a pore radius of 634 nm and 2900 nm, no mechanical degradation of DNA was observed up to 5 ml min−1 (265 cm h−1) above which the HPLC itself became the main source of damage. A decrease of a permeability appeared at flow rate 1.8 ml min−1 (95 cm h−1) and 2.3 ml min−1 (122 cm h−1), respectively. The effect of the pore size on enzyme biological activity was tested with immobilized DNase and trypsin on all three monoliths. Although the highest amount of enzyme was immobilized on the monolith with the smallest pores, monolith with the pore radius 634 nm exhibited the highest DNase biological activity probably due to restricted access for DNA molecules into the small pores. Interestingly, specific biological activity was increasing with a pore size decrease. This was attributed to higher number of contacts between a substrate and immobilized ligand.

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M. Krajačić, J. Ivancic-Jelecki, D. Forčić, A. Vrdoljak, D. Škorić

Journal of Chromatography A, 1144 (2007) 111-119

Replicative double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is useful in preliminary identification of Cucumber mosaic virus and its satellite RNA (satRNA). This plant pathogen complex yields sufficient quantity of the replicative RNA form that can be isolated by chromatography on chemically unmodified graded cellulose powder (CF-11). In this work, much faster and more efficient procedure using DEAE monoliths was developed in which dsRNA was separated from other species in total nucleic acids extract originating from the infected plant tissue. The developed chromatographic method revealed the pathogens’ presence in only 15 min, avoiding nucleic acid precipitation and electrophoretic analysis.

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N. Lendero Krajnc, F. Smrekar, A. Štrancar, A. Podgornik

Journal of Chromatography A, 1218 (2011) 2413-2424

The objective of this study was to investigate the behavior of large plasmids on the monolithic columns under binding and nonbinding conditions. The pressure drop measurements under nonbinding conditions demonstrated that the flow velocities under which plasmid passing monolith became hindered by the monolithic pore structure depended on the plasmid size as well as on the average monolith pore size; however, they were all very high exceeding the values encountered when applying CIM monolithic columns at their maximal flow rate. The impact of the ligand density and the salt concentration in loading buffer on binding capacity of the monolith for different sized plasmids was examined. For all plasmids the increase of dynamic binding capacity with the increase of salt concentration in the loading solution was observed reaching maximum of 7.1 mg/mL at 0.4 M NaCl for 21 kbp, 12.0 mg/mL at 0.4 M NaCl for 39.4 kbp and 8.4 mg/mL at 0.5 M NaCl for 62.1 kbp. Analysis of the pressure drop data measured on the monolithic column during plasmid loading revealed different patterns of plasmid binding to the surface, showing “car-parking problem” phenomena under certain conditions. In addition, layer thickness of adsorbed plasmid was estimated and at maximal dynamic binding capacity it matched calculated plasmid radius of gyration. Finally, it was found that the adsorbed plasmid layer acts similarly as the grafted layer responding to changes in solution's ionic strength as well as mobile phase flow rate and that the density of plasmid layer depends on the plasmid size and also loading conditions.

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F. Smrekar, A. Podgornik, M. Ciringer, S. Kontrec, P. Raspor, A. Štrancar, M. Peterka

Vaccine 28 (2010) 2039–2045

Plasmid DNA (pDNA) used in vaccination and gene therapy has to be highly pure and homogenous, which point out necessity to develop efficient, reproducible and scalable downstream process. Convective Interaction Media (CIM) monolithic chromatographic supports being designed for purification of large molecules and nanoparticles seem to be a matrix of choice for pDNA purification. In present work we describe a pDNA purification process designed on two different CIM monolithic columns, based on anion-exchange (AEX) chromatography and hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) chemistry. HIC monolith enabled separation of supercoiled (sc) pDNA from open circular (oc) pDNA, genomic DNA (gDNA) and endotoxins regardless to flow rates in the range at least up to 380 cm/h. Dynamic binding capacity of new HIC monolith is up to 4 mg of pDNA per milliliter of support. Combination of both chromatographic steps using optimized CaCl2 precipitation enabled production of pure pDNA, satisfying all regulatory requirements. Process was found to be reproducible, scalable, and exhibits high productivity. In addition, in-line monitoring of pDNA purification process is shown, using CIM DEAE disk monolithic columns.

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