Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell lines are grown in cultures with varying asparagine and glutamine concentrations, but further study is needed to characterize the interplay between these amino acids. By following 13C-glucose, 13C-glutamine, and 13C-asparagine tracers using metabolic flux analysis (MFA), CHO cell metabolism was characterized in an industrially relevant fed-batch process under glutamine supplemented and low glutamine conditions during early and late exponential growth. For both conditions MFA revealed glucose as the primary carbon source to the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle followed by glutamine and asparagine as secondary sources. Early exponential phase CHO cells prefer glutamine over asparagine to support the TCA cycle under the glutamine supplemented condition, while asparagine was critical for TCA activity for the low glutamine condition. Overall TCA fluxes were similar for both conditions due to the trade-offs associated with reliance on glutamine and/or asparagine. However, glutamine supplementation increased fluxes to alanine, lactate and enrichment of glutathione, N-Acetyl-Glucosamine (NAG) and pyrimidine-containing-molecules. The late exponential phase exhibited reduced central carbon metabolism dominated by glucose, while lactate reincorporation and aspartate uptake were preferred over glutamine and asparagine. These 13C studies demonstrate that metabolic flux is process time dependent and can be modulated by varying feed composition.
Despite the potential of tissue engineering approaches for cartilage repair, a major shortcoming is the low biosynthetic response of chondrocytes. While different strategies have been investigated to upregulate tissue formation, a novel approach may be to control nutrient metabolism. Although known for their anaerobic metabolism of glucose, chondrocytes are more synthetically active when cultured under conditions that elicit mixed aerobic-anaerobic metabolism. Here, we postulate this metabolic switch induces hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) signaling leading to improved tissue growth. Transition to different metabolic states can result in the pooling of intracellular metabolites, several of which can stabilize HIF-1α by interfering with proline-hydroxylase-2 (PHD2). Chondrocytes cultured under increased media availability accelerated tissue deposition (2.2 to 3.5-fold) with the greatest effect occurring at intermediate volumes (2 mL/106 cells). Under higher media volumes, metabolism switched from anaerobic to mixed aerobic-anaerobic. At and beyond this transition, maximal changes in PHD2 activity (- 45%), HIF-1α protein expression (8-fold increase), and HIF-1 gene target expression were observed (2.0 to 2.7-fold increase). Loss-of-function studies using YC-1 (to degrade HIF-1α) confirmed the involvement of HIF-1 signaling under these conditions. Lastly, targeted metabolomic studies of glucose metabolites (14 in total) revealed that both intracellular lactate and succinate correlated with PHD2 activity. Although both metabolites can inhibit PHD2, this effect can most likely be attributed to lactate as succinate was only present in trace amounts. However, addition work (e.g., 13C flux analyses) are required to confirm this assertion. Nevertheless, by harnessing this newly identified metabolic switch, functional engineered cartilage implants may be developed without the need for sophisticated methods which would allow for improved translation into the clinical realm.
Neural tissue engineering aims to restore function of nervous system tissues using biocompatible cell-seeded scaffolds. Graphene-based scaffolds combined with stem cells deserve special attention to enhance tissue regeneration in a controlled manner. However, it is believed that minor changes in scaffold biomaterial composition, internal porous structure, and physicochemical properties can impact cellular growth and adhesion. The current work aims to investigate in vitro biological effects of 3D graphene oxide (GO)/sodium alginate (GOSA) and reduced GOSA (RGOSA) scaffolds on dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) in terms of cell viability and cytotoxicity. Herein, the effects of the 3D scaffolds, coating conditions, and serum supplementation on DPSCs functions are explored extensively. Biodegradation analysis revealed that addition of GO enhanced the degradation rate of composite scaffolds. Compared to the 2D surface, the cell viability of 3D scaffolds was higher (p <0.0001), highlighting the optimal initial cell adhesion to the scaffold surface and cell migration through pores. Moreover, the cytotoxicity study indicated that the incorporation of graphene supported higher DPSCs viability. It is also shown that when the mean pore size of scaffold increases, DPSCs activity decreases. In terms of coating conditions, poly-l-lysine (PLL) was the most robust coating reagent that improved cell-scaffold adherence and DPSCs metabolism activity. The cytotoxicity of GO-based scaffolds showed that DPSCs can be seeded in serum-free media without cytotoxic effects. This is critical for human translation as cellular transplants are typically serum-free. These findings suggest that proposed 3D GO-based scaffolds have favourable effects on the biological responses of DPSCs.
The Vero cell line is the most used continuous cell line in viral vaccine manufacturing. This adherent cell culture platform requires the use of surfaces to support cell growth, typically roller bottles or microcarriers. We have recently compared the production of rVSV-ZEBOV on Vero cells between microcarrier and fixed-bed bioreactors. However, suspension cultures are considered superior with regards to process scalability. Therefore, we further explore the Vero suspension system for rVSV-vectored vaccine production. Previously, this suspension cell line was only able to be cultivated in a proprietary medium. Here, we expand the adaptation and bioreactor cultivation to a serum-free commercial medium. Following small scale optimization and screening studies, we demonstrate bioreactor productions of highly relevant vaccines and vaccine candidates against Ebola virus disease, HIV and COVID-19 in the Vero suspension system. rVSV-ZEBOV, rVSV-HIV and rVSVInd-msp-SF-Gtc can replicate to high titers in the bioreactor, reaching 3.87 × 107 TCID50/mL, 2.12 × 107 TCID50/mL and 3.59 × 109 TCID50/mL, respectively. Further, we compare cell specific productivities, and the quality of the produced viruses by determining the ratio of total viral particles to infectious viral particles
The biopharmaceutical industry is transitioning from currently deployed batch-mode bioprocessing to a highly efficient and agile next generation bioprocessing with the adaptation of continuous bioprocessing, which reduces the capital investment and operational costs. Continuous bioprocessing, aligned with FDA’s quality-by-design (QbD) platform, is designed to develop robust processes to deliver safe and effective drugs. With the deployment of knowledge based operations, product quality can be built into the process to achieve desired critical quality attributes (CQAs) with reduced variability. To facilitate next generation continuous bio-processing, it is essential to embrace a fundamental shift-in-paradigm from “quality-by-testing” to “quality-by-design”, which requires the deployment of process analytical technologies (PAT). With the adaptation of PAT, a systematic approach of process and product understanding and timely process control are feasible. Deployment of PAT tools for real-time monitoring of CQAs and feedback control is critical for continuous bioprocessing. Given the current deficiency in PAT tools to support continuous bioprocessing, we have integrated Agilent 2D-LC with a post-flow-splitter in conjunction with the SegFlow automated sampler to the bioreactors. With this integrated system, we have established a platform for online measurements of titer and CQAs of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) as well as amino acid concentrations of bioreactor cell culture.
Synthetic microbial communities have the potential to enable new platforms for bioproduction of biofuels and biopharmaceuticals. However, using engineered communities is often assumed to be difficult because of anticipated challenges in establishing and controlling community composition. Cross-feeding between microbial auxotrophs has the potential to facilitate co-culture growth and stability through a mutualistic ecological interaction. We assessed cross-feeding between 13 Escherichia coli amino acid auxotrophs paired with a leucine auxotroph of Bacillus megaterium. We developed a minimal media capable of supporting the growth of both bacteria and used the media to study co-culture growth of the 13 interspecies pairs of auxotrophs in batch and continuous culture, and on semi-solid media. In batch culture, eight of thirteen pairs of auxotrophs were observed to grow in co-culture. We developed a new metric to quantify the impact of cross-feeding on co-culture growth. Six pairs also showed long-term stability in continuous culture, where co-culture growth at different dilution rates highlighted differences in cross-feeding amongst the pairs. Finally, we found that cross-feeding-dependent growth on semi-solid media is highly stringent and enables identification of the most efficient pairs. These results demonstrate that cross-feeding is a viable approach for controlling community composition within diverse synthetic communities.
Cell viability evaluation is significantly meaningful for cellular assays. Some cells with weak viability are easily killed in the detection of anti-cancer drugs, while others with strong viability survive and proliferate, ultimately leading to the treatment failure or the inaccuracy of biological assays. Accurately evaluating cell viability heterogeneity still remains difficult. This paper proposed a multi-physical property information fusion method for evaluating cell viability heterogeneity based on multiple linear regression (MLR) on a single-channel integrated microfluidic chip. In this method, adhesion strengths τN, that are defined as the magnitude of shear stress needed to detach (100-N) % of cell population, were extracted as the independent variables of MLR model by calculating the linear fitting of the impedance-response curves for shear stress (cell detachment assay). Besides, by calculating the non-linear fitting of the drug dose-response curves for cancer cells (IC50 assay), the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) was extracted as the dependent variables of MLR model. The results show that the mean relative error of our fusion method reduces by 17.87% and 59.66% compared with the single-parameter method and the cell counting method. Moreover, through the theoretical analysis of the drug resistance heterogeneity model, it proved that there is a qualitative relationship between the cell adhesion strength and cell viability heterogeneity, which provides a theoretical basis for our fusion method.
Disulfide bond reduction has been a challenging issue in antibody manufacturing, as it leads to reduced product purity, failed product specifications and more importantly, impacting drug safety and efficacy. Scientists across industry have been examining the root causes and developing mitigation strategies to address the challenge. In recent years, with the development of high-titer mammalian cell culture processes to meet the rapidly growing demand for antibody biopharmaceuticals, disulfide bond reduction has been observed more frequently. Thus, it is necessary to continue evolving the disulfide reduction mitigation strategy and development of novel approaches to achieve high product quality. Additionally, in recent years as more complex molecules emerge such as bispecific and trispecific antibodies, the molecular heterogeneity due to incomplete formation of the interchain disulfide bonds becomes a more imperative issue. Given the disulfide reduction challenges that our industry are facing, in this review, we provide a comprehensive contemporary scientific insight into the root cause analysis of disulfide reduction during process development of antibody therapeutics, mitigation strategies and recovery based on our expertise in commercial and clinical manufacturing of biologics. First, this paper intended to highlight different aspects of the root cause for disulfide reduction. Secondly, to provide a broader understanding of the disulfide bond reduction in downstream process, this paper discussed disulfide bond reduction impact to product stability and process performance, analytical methods for detection and characterization, process control strategies and their manufacturing implementation. In addition, brief perspectives on development of future mitigation strategies will also be reviewed, including platform alignment, mitigation strategy application for bi- and tri-specific antibodies and using machine learning to identify molecule susceptibility of disulfide bond reduction. The data in this review are originated from both the published papers and our internal development work.
Frontal chromatography has seen increased interest for protein purification, in particular as a polishing step in downstream processes for therapeutic proteins production, as for example the purification of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from high molecular weight impurities, e.g., aggregates, using cation exchange resins. In this work we introduce a new two-column continuous process implementing frontal chromatography. The design procedure and its performance, compared to classical batch technology, are discussed. This represents an additional option in the realisation of optimised continuous downstream processing of therapeutic proteins.
The field of optogenetics is rapidly growing in relevance and number of developed tools. Amongst other things, the optogenetic repertoire includes light-responsive ion channels and methods for gene regulation. This review will be confined to the optogenetic control of gene expression in mammalian cells as suitable models for clinical applications. Here optogenetic gene regulation might offer an excellent method for spatially and timely regulated gene and protein expression in cell therapeutic approaches. Well-known systems for gene regulation, such as the LOV-, CRY2/CIB-, PhyB/PIF-systems, as well as other, in mammalian cells not yet fully established systems will be described. Advantages and disadvantages with regard to clinical applications are outlined in detail. Among the many unanswered questions concerning the application of optogenetics, we discuss items such as the use of exogenous chromophores and their effects on the biology of the cells and methods for a gentle, but effective gene transfection method for optogenetic tools for in vivo applications.
Exposure of Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO) to highly concentrated feed solution during fed-batch cultivation is known to result in an unphysiological osmolality increase (>300 mOsm/kg), affecting cell physiology and morphology. Extending previous observation on osmotic adaptation, the present study investigates for the first time potential effects of hyperosmolality on CHO cells on both population and single-cell level. We intentionally exposed CHO cells to hyperosmolality of up to 545 mOsm/kg during fed-batch cultivation. Contrarily to an expected osmosis effect promoting cell shrinkage, hyperosmolality-exposed CHO cells showed a nearly triplicated volume accompanied by ablation of proliferation. On the molecular level, we observed a strong hyperosmolality-dependent increase in mitochondrial activity in CHO cells compared to control. The companion article “Hyperosmolality in CHO Culture: Effects on Proteome” provides a proteome-based insight into the effects of hyperosmolality on mitochondria. In contrast to mitochondrial activity, hyperosmolality-dependent proliferation arrest of CHO cells was not accompanied by DNA accumulation or caspase-3/7-mediated apoptosis. Notably, we demonstrate for the first time a formation of up to eight multiple, small nuclei in single hyperosmolality-stressed CHO cells. The here presented observations reveal unknown hyperosmolality-dependent morphological changes and support existing data on the osmotic response in mammalian cells.
Cancer is a disease of somatic mutations. These cellular mutations compete to dominate their microenvironment and dictate the disease outcome. While a therapeutic approach to target specific driver mutations helps to manage the disease, subsequent molecular evolution of tumor cells threatens to overtake therapeutic progress. There is need for rapid, high-throughput, unbiased in-vitro discovery screening platforms that capture the native complexities of the tumor and rapidly identifiy mutations that confer chemotherapeutic drug resistance.Taking the example of CDK4/6 inhibitor (CDK4/6i) class of drugs, we show that the pooled in-vitro CRISPR screening platform enables rapid discovery of drug resistance mutations in a 3D setting. Gene edited cancer cell clones assembled into an organotypic multicellular tumor spheroid (MCTS), exposed to CDK4/6i caused selection and enrichment of the most drug resistant phenotype in a 3D setting, detectable by next gen sequencing after a span of 28 days. The platform was sufficiently sensitive to enrich for even a single drug resistant cell within a large, 2500-cell, drug-responsive complex 3D tumor spheroid. The genome-wide 3D CRISPR-mediated knockout screen (>18,000 genes) identified several genes whose disruptions conferred resistance to CDK4/6i. Further, multiple novel candidate genes were identified as top hits only in the microphysiological 3D enrichment assay platform and not the conventional 2D assays. Taken together, these findings suggest that including phenotypic 3D resistance profiling in decision trees could improve discovery and reconfirmation of drug resistance mechanisms and afford a platform for exploring non-cell autonomous interactions, selection pressures, and clonal competition.
The United States produces more than 10 million tons of waste oils and fats each year. This paper aims to establish a new biomanufacturing platform that convert waste oils or fats into a series of value-added products. Our research employs the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica as a case study for citrate production from waste oils. First, we conducted the CFD simulation of the bioreactor system and identified that the extracellular mixing and mass transfer is the first limiting factor of an oil fermentation process due to the insolubility of oil in water. Based on the CFD simulation results, bioreactor design and operating conditions were optimized and successfully enhanced oil uptake and bioconversion in fed-batch fermentation experiments. After that, we investigated the impacts of cell morphology on oil uptake, intracellular lipid accumulation, and citrate formation by overexpressing and deleting the MHY1 gene in the wild type Y. lipolytica. Fairly good correlations were achieved between cell morphology and productivities of biomass, lipid, and citrate. Finally, fermentation kinetics with both glucose and oil substrates were compared and the oil fermentation process was carefully evaluated. Our research results suggest that waste oils or fats can be economical feedstocks for biomanufacturing of many high-value products.
SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA coronavirus that causes severe acute pneumonia, also known as COVID 19 disease. The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020 and a pandemic 2 months later. Serological assays are valuable tools to study virus spread among the population and, importantly, to identify individuals that were already infected and would be potentially immune to a virus re-infection. SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein and its Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) are the antigens with higher potential to develop SARS-CoV-2 serological assays. Moreover, structural studies of these antigens are key to understand the molecular basis for Spike interaction with angiotensin converting enzyme 2 receptor, hopefully enabling the discovery and development of COVID-19 therapeutics. Thus, it is urgent that significant amounts of this protein became available at the highest quality. In this work we evaluated the impact of different and scalable bioprocessing approaches on Spike and RBD production yields and, more importantly, in these antigens’ quality attributes. Using negative and positive sera collected from human donors, we show an excellent performance of the produced antigens, assessed in serologic ELISA tests, as denoted by the high specificity and sensitivity of the test. We have shown that, despite of the human cell host and the cell culture strategy used, for production scales ranging from 1 L to up to 30 L, final yields of approx. 2 mg and 90 mg per liter of purified bulk for Spike and RBD, respectively, could be obtained. To the best of our knowledge these are the highest yields for RBD production reported to date. An in-depth characterization of SARS CoV-2 Spike and RBD proteins was also performed, namely the antigens oligomeric state, glycosylation profiles and thermal stability during storage. The correlation of these quality attributes with ELISA performance show equivalent reactivity to SARS CoV 2 positive serum, for all Spike and RBD produced, and for all the storage conditions tested. Overall, we provide herein straightforward protocols to produce high-quality SARS CoV-2 Spike and RBD antigens, that can be easily adapted to both academic and industrial settings; and integrate, for the first time, studies on the impact of bioprocess with an in-deep characterization of these proteins, correlating antigens glycosylation and biophysical attributes to performance of COVID-19 serologic tests. We strongly believe that our work will contribute to advance the current and recent knowledge on SARS-CoV-2 proteins and support the scientific society that is persistently searching for solutions for COVID-19 pandemics.
Concerns about climate change and the search for renewable energy sources together with the goal of attaining sustainable product manufacturing have boosted the use of microbial platforms to produce fuels and high-value chemicals. In this regard, Y. lipolytica has been known as a promising yeast with potentials in diverse array of biotechnological applications such as being a host for different oleochemicals, organic acid and recombinant protein production. Having a rapidly increasing number of molecular and genetic tools available, Y. lipolytica has been well studied amongst oleaginous yeasts and metabolic engineering has been used to explore its potentials. More recently, with the advancement in systems biotechnology and the implementation of mathematical modeling and high throughput omics data-driven approaches, in-depth understanding of cellular mechanisms of cell factories have been made possible resulting in enhanced rational strain design. In case of Y. lipolytica, these systems-level studies and the related cutting-edge technologies have recently been initiated which is expected to result in enabling the biotechnology sector to rationally engineer Y. lipolytica-based cell factories with favorable production metrics. In this regard, here, we highlight the current status of systems metabolic engineering research and assess the potential of this yeast for future cell factory design development.
Host cell proteins (HCPs) are process-related impurities that may co-purify with biopharmaceutical drug products. Within this class of impurities there are some that are more problematic. These problematic HCPs can be considered high-risk and can include those that are immunogenic, biologically active, or enzymatically active with the potential to degrade either product molecules or excipients used in formulation, and often are difficult-to-purify. Why should the biopharmaceutical industry worry about these high-risk host cell proteins? What approach could be taken to understand the origin of this co-purification and to deal with these high-risk HCPs? To answer these questions, the BioPhorum Development Group (BPDG) HCP Workstream initiated a collaboration among its 26-company team with the goal of industry alignment around high-risk HCPs. A sub team was formed, in which the members performed literature searches and discussed the information available around this topic. A survey to the BPDG HCP Workstream team members led to team discussions and insights into a list of frequently seen problematic HCPs. These HCPs were further classified based on their potential impact into different risk categories that could be beneficial to the biopharmaceutical industry for targeted monitoring of those HCP impurities in CHO-produced biologics to minimize risk to product quality, safety, and efficacy.
Retroviral gene delivery is widely used in T cell therapies for hematological cancers. However, viral vectors are expensive to manufacture, they integrate genes in semi-random patterns, and their transduction efficiency is highly variable. In this study, several non-viral gene delivery vehicles, promoters, and additional variables were compared to optimize non-viral transgene delivery and expression in both Jurkat and primary T cells. Overall, transfecting Jurkat cells in X-VIVOTM 15 media with Lipofectamine LTX provided a high transfection efficiency (63.0±10.9% EGFP+). However, the same method yielded a much lower transfection efficiency in primary T cells (8.1±0.8% EGFP+). Subsequent confocal microscopy revealed that a majority of the lipoplexes did not enter the primary T cells, which might be due to relatively low expression levels of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) detected via mRNA-sequencing. PYHIN DNA sensors (e.g., AIM2, IFI16) were also expressed at high levels in Primary T cells, which can induce apoptosis when bound to cytoplasmic DNA. Therefore, transfection of primary T cells appears to be limited at the level of cellular uptake and/or DNA sensing in the cytoplasm, so both of these factors should be considered in the development of future viral and non-viral T cell gene delivery methods.
Monoclonal antibodies are high value agents used for disease therapy (‘biologic drugs’) or as diagnostic tools which are widely used in the health care sector. They are generally manufactured in mammalian cells, in particular Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells cultured in defined media, and are harvested from the medium. Rheb is a small GTPase which, when bound to GTP, activates mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a protein kinase that drives anabolic processes including protein synthesis and ribosome biogenesis. Here we show that certain constitutively-active mutants of Rheb drive faster protein synthesis in CHO cells and increase the expression of proteins involved in the processing of secreted proteins via the endoplasmic reticulum, which expands in response to expression of Rheb. Active Rheb mutants, in particular Rheb[T23M], drive increased cell number under serum-free conditions similar to those used in the biotechnology industry. Rheb[T23M] also enhances the expression of the reporter protein luciferase and, especially strongly, the secreted Gaussia luciferase. Moreover, Rheb[T23M] markedly (2-3 fold) enhances the amount of this luciferase and of a model immunoglobulin into the medium. Our data clearly demonstrate that expressing Rheb[T23M] in CHO cells provides a simple approach to promoting cell growth in defined medium and the production of secreted proteins of high commercial value