Infoscience

Thesis

Study of transposon-mediated cell pool and cell line generation in CHO cells

The goal of this thesis was to evaluate the use of artificial transposon systems for the generation of recombinant cell pools and cell lines with Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells as the production host. Transposons are naturally occurring genetic elements present in the genome of most organisms. Several transposons of metazoan origin have been engineered to facilitate the integration of one or more recombinant genes (transgenes) into the genome of the host cell. In this thesis, three of the most commonly used transposons, piggyBac (PB), Tol2, and Sleeping Beauty (SB), were used for transgene delivery into CHO-DG44 cells. The transposon systems described here involves co-transfection of the host cells with a helper plasmid for the transient expression of the transposase, and a donor plasmid coding for the transgene and a gene for the selection, both positioned between two transposon repeat sequences that are required for DNA transposition. Through the optimization of various selection parameters we showed that PB-mediated cell pools can be generated with selection duration of as little as 5 days in the presence of puromycin. All three transposon systems, PB, Tol2, and SB, resulted in cell pools with similar volumetric TNFR:Fc productivities that were about 9 times higher than those generated by conventional plasmid transfection. Transposon-mediated cell pools had 10 - 12 transgene integrations per cell. However, we demonstrated that some the integration events occurred via DNA recombination rather than transposition. We also isolated clonal cell lines from cell pools. As expected, the average volumetric TNFR:Fc productivity of transposon-derived cell lines was higher than that of cell lines generated by conventional transfection. In 14-day fed-batch cultures, protein levels up to 900 mg/L and 1.5 g/L were obtained from transposon-mediated cell pools and cell lines, respectively. The stability over time of the volumetric productivity of cell pools was determined by maintaining the cells in culture for 3 months in the absence of selection. In general, the productivity decreased to 50 % its initial level over the first 7 weeks in culture and then remained constant for the following 5 weeks. In contrast, the volumetric protein yield from transposon-mediated cell lines remained constant for up to 4 months in the absence of selection. We also showed that the three transposon systems could be used for cell pool generation with CHO-K1 and CHO-S with similar volumetric productivities as observed with CHO-DG44 cells. Finally, we utilized the PB transposon system for generating cell pools co-expressing up to 4 different transgenes, enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP), and the light and heavy chains of an IgG1 monoclonal antibody, by simultaneous transfection of all four transgenes. We showed that PB-mediated cell pools had increased volumetric productivity of each of the proteins compared to those generated by conventional co-transfection. The use of the PB transposon system increased the percentage of cells in the pools that were co-expressing all four proteins as compared to the results with cell pools generated by conventional transfection. In conclusion, the transfection of CHO cells with the PB, Tol2 or SB transposon system is a simple, efficient, and reproducible approach to the generation of cell pools and cell lines for the rapid production of recombinant proteins.

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