Effect of photo-degradation on the structure, stability, aggregation, and function of an IgG1 monoclonal antibody

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Graphical abstractPhotostability testing of therapeutic proteins is a critical requirement in the development of biologics. Upon exposure to light, pharmaceutical proteins may undergo a change in structure, stability, and functional properties that could have a potential impact on safety and efficacy. In this work, we studied how exposure to light, according to ICH guidelines, leads to photo-oxidation of a therapeutic IgG1 mAb. We also tested the ability of five different excipients to prevent such oxidation. In samples that were exposed to light, we found that the CH2 domain was considerably destabilized but there were no major changes in the overall structure of the protein. Aggregation of the protein was observed because of light exposure. Mass spectrometry identified that light exposure oxidizes two key methionine residues in the Fc region of the protein. In terms of function, a loss in binding to the neonatal Fc receptor, decreased antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity and cell proliferation activities of the protein were seen. Combined analysis of the photo-oxidation effects on the structure, stability, aggregation, and function of the mAb has identified the underlying unifying mechanism. Among the sugars and amino acids tested, methionine was the most effective in protecting mAb against photo-oxidation.

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