Validation of a NAT-based Mycoplasma assay according European Pharmacopoiea.

Deutschmann SM, Kavermann H, Knack Y.
Source: Mol Biotechnol
Publication Date: (2010)
Issue: 38(2): 238-248
Eucaryotic expression systems are widely used to produce biologicals for human use, e.g. vaccines, recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. As part of the safety testing the current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory guidelines as well as several European Pharmacopoiea monographs requests the demonstration of the absence of Mycoplasma in the cell culture in the bioreactors prior to harvest and further downstream processing. In recent years progress has been made in the development of a sensitive NAT-based method for the detection of Mycoplasma species in CHO cells, e.g. Eldering et al. This method is based on a nucleic acid amplification technique using a very sensitive touch-down PCR-profile. The presence of mollicutes DNA in the test specimens is determined by an approx. 450 bp target sequence which is amplified and this amplicon is finally detected by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Based on this method a ready-to-use test kit was developed. In this report the validation of both method variants according the European Pharmacopoiea monograph 2.6.7 "Mycoplasmas" is described. The validation demonstrated the robustness and precision as well as a sufficient specificity of both assay formats. The validated sensitivity fulfills the requirements of the European Pharmacopoiea for a PCR-based method proposed as an alternative to the time consuming indicator cell culture and the culture method for the detection of Mollicutes (requested sensitivity of at least 10 colony-forming-units/mL).