The biological activity of therapeutic antibodies is highly influenced by their glycosylation profile. A valuable method for increasing the cytotoxic efficacy of antibodies, which are used, for example, in cancer treatment, is the reduction of core fucosylation, as this enhances the elimination of target cells through antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Development of fucose analogues is currently the most promising strategy to reduce core fucosylation without cell line engineering. Since peracetylated sugars display enhanced cell permeability over the highly polar free hydroxy sugars, this work sought to compare the efficacy of peracetylated sugars to their unprotected forms. Two potent fucose analogues, 2-deoxy-2-fluorofucose and 5-alkynylfucose, and their acetylated forms were compared for their effects on fucosylation. 5-alkynylfucose proved to be more potent than 2-deoxy-2-fluorofucose at reducing core fucosylation but was associated with a significant higher incorporation of the alkynylated fucose analogue. Acetylation of the sugar yielded only slightly lower fucosylation levels suggesting that acetylation has a minor impact on cellular entry. Even though the efficacy of all tested components was confirmed, results presented in this study also show a significant incorporation of unnatural fucose analogues into the glycosylation pattern of the produced IgG, with unknown effect on safety and potency of the monoclonal antibody.
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