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Concept: Chinese hamster ovary cell


Mammalian cell lines are characterized by a complex and flexible metabolism. A single model that could describe the variations in metabolic behavior triggered by variations in the culture conditions would be a precious tool in bioprocess development. In this paper, we introduce an approach to generate a poly-pathway model and use it to simulate diverse metabolic states triggered in response to removal, reduction or doubling of amino acids in the culture medium of an antibody-producing CHO cell line. Macro-reactions were obtained from a metabolic network via elementary flux mode enumeration and the fluxes were modeled by kinetic equations with saturation and inhibition effects from external medium components. Importantly, one set of kinetic parameters was estimated using experimental data of the multiple metabolic states. A good fit between the model and the data was obtained for the majority of the metabolites and the experimentally observed flux variations. We find that the poly-pathway modeling approach is promising for the simulation of multiple metabolic states.

Concepts: Protein, Amino acid, Acid, Ammonia, Metabolism, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Cell lines


Mammalian cell cultures typically exhibit an energy inefficient phenotype characterized by the consumption of large quantities of glucose and the concomitant production of large quantities of lactate. Under certain conditions, mammalian cells can switch to a more energy efficient state during which lactate is consumed. Using a metabolic model derived from a mouse genome scale model we performed flux balance analysis of Chinese hamster ovary cells before and after a metabolic switch from lactate production (in the presence of glucose) to lactate consumption (after glucose depletion). Despite a residual degree of freedom after accounting for measurements, the calculated flux ranges and associated errors were narrow enough to enable investigation of metabolic changes across the metabolic switch. Surprisingly, the fluxes through the lower part of the TCA cycle from oxoglutarate to malate were very similar (around 60 µmol/gDW/h) for both phases. A detailed analysis of the energy metabolism showed that cells consuming lactate have an energy efficiency (total ATP produced per total C-mol substrate consumed) six times greater than lactate producing cells. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2013; 110: 660-666. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Organism, Mitochondrion, Cellular respiration, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Citric acid cycle


Artichoke leaves are used in traditional medicine as an herbal medicament for the treatment of hepatic related diseases, as well as choleretic and diuretic. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the capacity of Cynara scolymus L. leaves extract (LE) to cause chromosomal instability and cytotoxicity in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO) employing the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) cytome assay. Cells were treated with four concentrations of C. scolymus for two exposure times: 1 h and 24 h. Our findings showed that LE did not increase the frequencies of nucleoplasmic bridges (NPBs) and nuclear bud (NBUD). However, all concentrations of the extract produced increments in micronuclei frequencies (MNi) in both exposure times, when compared to the negative control. No significant differences were observed in the nuclear division cytotoxicity index (NDCI), reflecting the absence of cytotoxic effects associated to LE. The results demonstrated the ability of C. scolymus LE to promote chromosomal mutations which are, probably, a result of the pro-oxidant activity of LE constituents such as flavonoids and chlorogenic acids. The data obtained in this study suggests that high concentrations of artichoke can pose a risk associated to its consumption.

Concepts: DNA, Cell, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Chinese hamster, Cytotoxicity, Toxicity, Thistle, Cynareae


Gold nanoshells (155 nm in diameter with a coating of polyethylene glycol 5000) were evaluated for preclinical biocompatibility, toxicity, and biodistribution as part of a program to develop an injectable device for use in the photothermal ablation of tumors. The evaluation started with a complete good laboratory practice (GLP) compliant International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-10993 biocompatibility program, including cytotoxicity, pyrogenicity (US Pharmacopeia [USP] method in the rabbit), genotoxicity (bacterial mutagenicity, chromosomal aberration assay in Chinese hamster ovary cells, and in vivo mouse micronucleus), in vitro hemolysis, intracutaneous reactivity in the rabbit, sensitization (in the guinea pig maximization assay), and USP/ISO acute systemic toxicity in the mouse. There was no indication of toxicity in any of the studies. Subsequently, nanoshells were evaluated in vivo by intravenous (iv) infusion using a trehalose/water solution in a series of studies in mice, Sprague-Dawley rats, and Beagle dogs to assess toxicity for time durations of up to 404 days. Over the course of 14 GLP studies, the gold nanoshells were well tolerated and, when injected iv, no toxicities or bioincompatibilities were identified.

Concepts: Gene, Chinese hamster ovary cell, In vitro, Rat, Rodent, Mouse, Good Laboratory Practice, Hamster


In recent years, several automated scale-down bioreactor systems have been developed to increase efficiency in cell culture process development. ambr™ is an automated workstation that provides individual monitoring and control of culture dissolved oxygen and pH in single-use, stirred-tank bioreactors at a working volume of 10-15 mL. To evaluate the ambr™ system, we compared the performance of four recombinant Chinese hamster ovary cell lines in a fed-batch process in parallel ambr™, 2-L bench-top bioreactors, and shake flasks. Cultures in ambr™ matched 2-L bioreactors in controlling the environment (temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH) and in culture performance (growth, viability, glucose, lactate, Na(+), osmolality, titer, and product quality). However, cultures in shake flasks did not show comparable performance to the ambr™ and 2-L bioreactors.

Concepts: Cell, Enzyme, Cell biology, Biotechnology, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Cell lines, Bioreactor


The question as to whether A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR) agonists, N (6)-(3-iodobenzyl)-adenosine-5'-N- methyluronamide (IB-MECA) and 2-chloro-N (6)-(3-iodobenzyl)-adenosine-5'-N-methyluronamide (Cl-IB-MECA), could exert cytotoxic effects at high concentrations with or without the involvement of A3AR has been a controversial issue for a long time. The initial findings suggesting that A3AR plays a crucial role in the induction of cell death upon treatment with micromolar concentrations of IB-MECA or Cl-IB-MECA were revised, however, the direct and unequivocal evidence is still missing. Therefore, the sensitivity of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with human recombinant A3AR (A3-CHO) and their counter partner wild-type CHO cells, which do not express any of adenosine receptors, to micromolar concentrations of IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA was studied. We observed that IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA exhibited a strong inhibitory effect on cell proliferation due to the blockage of cell cycle progression at G1/S and G2/M transitions in both A3-CHO and CHO cells. Further analysis revealed that IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA attenuated the Erk1/2 signalling irrespectively to A3AR expression. In addition, Cl-IB-MECA induced massive cell death mainly with hallmarks of a necrosis in both cell lines. In contrast, IB-MECA affected cell viability only slightly independently of A3AR expression. IB-MECA induced cell death that exhibited apoptotic hallmarks. In general, the sensitivity of A3-CHO cells to micromolar concentrations of IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA was somewhat, but not significantly, higher than that observed in the CHO cells. These results strongly suggest that IB-MECA and Cl-IB-MECA exert cytotoxic effects at micromolar concentrations independently of A3AR expression.

Concepts: Gene, Cell nucleus, Cell division, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Adenosine receptor, Adenosine A1 receptor, Adenosine A3 receptor


Dextran sulfate 5,000 Da (DS), a sulfated polysaccharide, has been used in recombinant mammalian cell cultures to prevent cell aggregation, thereby increasing cell viability. Previous studies using Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) suspension cultures had shown that low concentrations of DS are related to an inhibition of apoptosis. In this study, DS was used on anchorage-dependent CHO cells producing erythropoietin (EPO), in order to investigate the effect of this molecule on anti-apoptotic and pro-survival cellular pathways. DS 5,000 Da treatment was shown to prolong the life of cells and increase productivity of EPO by 1.8-fold comparing with controls, in standard batch conditions. At a molecular level, we show that DS inhibits apoptosis by DNA fragmentation delay and decrease of annexin V-labeled cells, causes a G0/G1 cell cycle arrest, decreases p53 expression and increases the pro-survival factor Hsc70 expression. DS treatment also resulted in an enhanced LC3-I to LC3-II conversion and increased autophagosomes formation employing tagged-LC3. Our data show, for the first time, that low doses of DS may promote autophagy in different cell lines. These findings suggest that a better understanding and manipulation of phenomenon of autophagy could be of crucial importance in the bio-pharmaceutical industry, in particular in the field of protein production.

Concepts: DNA, Cell nucleus, Apoptosis, Cell culture, Cell cycle, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Cell lines, P53


Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are commonly used for industrial production of recombinant proteins in fed batch or alternative production systems. Cells progress through multiple metabolic stages during fed batch antibody (mAb) production, including an exponential growth phase accompanied by lactate production, a low growth or stationary phase when specific mAb production increases, and a decline when cell viability declines. Although media composition and cell lineage have been shown to impact growth and productivity, little is known about the metabolic changes at a molecular level. Better understanding of cellular metabolism will aid in identifying targets for genetic and metabolic engineering to optimize bioprocess and cell engineering. We studied a high expressing recombinant CHO cell line, designated High Performer (HP), in fed-batch productions using stable isotope tracers and biochemical methods to determine changes in central metabolism that accompany growth and mAb production. We also compared and contrasted results from HP to a high lactate producing cell line that exhibits poor growth and productivity, designated Low Performer (LP), to determine intrinsic metabolic profiles linked to their respective phenotypes. Our results reveal alternative metabolic and regulatory pathways for lactate and TCA metabolite production to those reported in the literature. The distribution of key media components into glycolysis, TCA cycle, lactate production, and biosynthetic pathways was shown to shift dramatically between exponential growth and stationary (production) phases. We determined that glutamine is both utilized more efficiently than glucose for anaplerotic replenishment and contributes more significantly to lactate production during the exponential phase. Cells shifted to glucose utilization in the TCA cycle as growth rate decreased. The magnitude of this metabolic switch is important for attaining high viable cell mass and antibody titers. We also found that phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK1) and pyruvate kinase (PK) are subject to differential regulation during exponential and stationary phases. The concomitant shifts in enzyme expression and metabolite utilization profiles shed light on the regulatory links between cell metabolism, media metabolites, and cell growth. Biotechnol. Bioeng. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Mitochondrion, Chinese hamster ovary cell, Glycolysis


Recently, we reported that the loss of a telomeric region of chromosome 8 in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells correlates with higher recombinant productivities. New cell lines lacking this region, called CHO-C8DEL, showed several advantages during cell line generation and for the production of recombinant proteins (Ritter et al. 2015). Here, we performed knock-down and knock-out experiments of genes located within this telomeric region of chromosome 8 to identify the genes causing the observed phenotypes of CHO-C8DEL cell lines. We present evidence that loss or reduced expression of the gene C12orf35 is responsible for higher productivities and shorter recovery times during selection pressure. These effects are mediated by increased levels of mRNA of the exogenes heavy chain (HC) and light chain (LC) as well as dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and neomycin phosphotransferase during the stable expression of antibodies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell nucleus, Cell, Chromosome, Cell culture, Chinese hamster ovary cell


Recombinant therapeutic proteins have changed the face of modern medicine in the present trend and they continue to provide innovative therapies for deadly diseases. This study describes the development of a novel stable expression system for rapid amplification of genes in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. The expression system consists of a host CHO cell line and an expression vector (pUB-PyOri-D-C) which encodes for Polyomavirus (Py) Origin of Replication (PyOri) for amplification of integrated genes in the presence of Py Large T Antigen (PyLT) and Dihydrofolate Reductase (DHFR) selectable marker gene for selection in the presence of Methotrexate (MTX). Use of both PyOri/PyLT and DHFR can reduce the number of rounds of selection and amplification required for isolation of high producing clones. The efficiency of pUB-PyOri-D-C was compared with that of pUB-D-C plasmid using Green fluorescent protein (GFP) and Erythropoietin (EPO) as reporter proteins. Our results showed that pUB-PyOri-D-C-EPO can help development of high expressing clone in one round of selection/amplification as compared to multiple rounds of selection/amplification with pUB-D-C-EPO plasmid. CHO-DG44/EPO clone generated using pUB-PyOri-D-C-EPO gave a productivity of 119 mg/L in shake flask.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell, Molecular biology, Enzyme, Green fluorescent protein, Chinese hamster ovary cell