Identification of protein A media performance attributes that can be monitored as surrogates for retrovirus clearance during extended re-use

J Chromatogr A. 2003 Mar 7;989(1):155-63. doi: 10.1016/s0021-9673(02)01697-7.


A potential safety concern in biotechnology purification schemes that employ re-use of column media, often for large numbers of chromatography runs, is loss of the virus removal capacity of the chromatographic purification operation over time. To define chromatography performance attributes that best predict retrovirus clearance during extended re-use of protein A media, small-scale protein A columns were cycled 150 to 460 times using concentrates of murine hybridoma cell culture supernatants, standard low pH elution buffers and different cleaning solutions (6 M urea, 6 M guanidine, 100 mM NaOH or 500 mM NaOH). Load, flow-through and eluate samples were taken periodically and assayed for reverse transcriptase (RT, an enzyme component of retroviruses) activity, bovine IgG (a component of the culture media), genomic DNA, leached protein A, and mouse IgG. Under all cleaning conditions tested, the log,10 reduction value (LRV) of RT activity did not decrease and impurity co-elution did not increase during the 150 to 460 purification/cleaning cycles. In the two studies in which the columns were cleaned with NaOH, the chromatography performance attribute that best predicted the column media lifespan was column capacity, as measured by antibody (Ab) step yield and breakthrough. In both studies, Ab capture decayed in a biphasic manner starting at cycle 200 (100 mM NaOH) or cycle 50 (500 mM NaOH). For media cycled 300+ times using 6 M urea or 6 M guanidine cleaning buffers, column performance, including RT activity LRV, was more stable, although small upward trends in Ab breakthrough were evident. In summary, our studies identify Ab step yield and breakthrough as performance attributes that decay prior to retrovirus LRV when protein A media is multiply-cycled. Thus, we propose that virus removal validation studies should be performed on new media only and these attributes can be monitored during protein A unit operations in lieu of performing virus removal validation studies with cycled protein A media.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retroviridae / isolation & purification*
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / chemistry*


  • DNA Primers
  • Staphylococcal Protein A