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Membrane-based steric exclusion chromatography for the purification of a recombinant baculovirus and its application for cell therapy

: Lothert, K.; Sprick, G.; Beyer, F.; Lauria, G.; Czermak, P.; Wolff, M.W.


Journal of virological methods 275 (2020), Art. 113756
ISSN: 0166-0934
ISSN: 1879-0984
Fraunhofer IME ()

The continuously increasing potential of stem cell treatments for various medical conditions has accelerated the need for fast and efficient purification techniques for individualized cell therapy applications. Genetic stem cell engineering is commonly done with viral vectors like the baculovirus. The baculovirus is a safe and efficient gene transfer tool, that has been used for the expression of recombinant proteins for many years. Its purification has been based mainly on ion exchange matrices. However, these techniques impair process robustness, if different genetically modified virus particles are applied. Here, we evaluated the membrane-based steric exclusion chromatography for the purification of insect cell culture-derived recombinant Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolehydroviruses for an application in cell therapy. The method has already proven to be a powerful tool for the purification of Influenza A virus particles, using cellulose membranes.
Aside from the aforementioned cellulose, we evaluated alternative stationary phases, such as glass fiber and polyamide membranes. The highest dynamic binding capacitiy was determined for cellulose with 5.08E + 07 pfu per cm² membrane. Critical process parameters were optimized, using a design of experiments (DoE) approach. The determined process conditions were verified by different production batches, obtaining a mean virus yield of 91% ± 6.5%. Impurity depletion was >99% and 85% for protein and dsDNA, without nuclease treatment. Due to the method’s specificity, its application to other baculoviruses, with varying surface modifications, is conceivable without major process changes. The physiological buffer conditions enable a gentle handling of the virus particles without decreasing the transduction efficacy. The simple procedure with sufficient impurity removal enables the substitution of time-consuming ultra centrifugation steps and can serve as a first process unit operation to obtain higher purities.