The actinomycete Lentzea aerocolonigenes produces the antitumor antibiotic rebeccamycin. In previous studies the rebeccamycin production was significantly increased by the addition of glass beads during cultivation in different diameters between 0.5 – 2 mm and the induced mechanical stress by the glass beads was proposed to be responsible for the increased production. Thus, this study was conducted to be a systematic investigation of different parameters for macroparticle addition, such as bead diameter, concentration and density (glass and ceramic) as well as shaking frequency, for a better understanding of the particle induced stress on L. aerocolonigenes. The induced stress for optimal rebeccamycin production can be estimated by a combination of stress energy and stress frequency. In addition, the macroparticle-enhanced cultivation of L. aerocolonigenes was combined with soy lecithin addition to further increase the rebeccamycin concentration. With 100 g L-1 glass beads in a diameter of 969 µm and 5 g L-1 soy lecithin a concentration of 388 mg L 1 rebeccamycin was reached after 10 days of cultivation, which corresponds to the highest rebeccamycin concentrations achieved in shake flask cultivations of L. aerocolonigenes stated in literature so far.
Yellow fever (YF) is a life-threatening viral disease endemic in large areas of Africa and Latin America. Although there is a very efficacious vaccine since the 1930s, YF still causes 29,000-60,000 annual deaths. During recent YF outbreaks there were issues of vaccine shortage due to limited supply of the current egg-derived vaccine; rare but fatal vaccine adverse effects occurred; and cases were imported to Asia, where the mosquito vector circulates and where local transmission could potentially start. In this work, we investigated the production of YF virus-like particles (VLPs) using suspension-adapted stably-transfected HEK293 cells. In order to develop an intensified process, we combined two strategies: the use of sequential FACS rounds to enrich the stable cell pool in terms of high producers, and the use of perfusion processes. At first, shaken tube experiments revealed that FACS enrichment of the cell pool allowed doubling VLP production, and that in pseudoperfusion cultures (with daily medium exchange) lasting 14 days VLP production increased by 8.3 fold as compared to batch cultures lasting 11 days. When true perfusion cultures were carried out in bioreactors, the use of an inclined cell settler as cell retention device showed operational advantages as compared to an ATF system.
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.
Commercial production of therapeutic proteins using mammalian cells requires complex process solutions, and consistency of these process solutions is critical to maintaining product titer and quality between batches. Inconsistencies between process solutions prepared at bench and commercial scale may be due to differences in mixing time, temperature, and pH which can lead to precipitation and subsequent removal via filtration of critical solution components such as trace metals. Pourbaix diagrams provide a useful tool to model the solubility of trace metals and were applied to troubleshoot the scale-up of nutrient feed preparation after inconsistencies in product titer were observed between bench- and manufacturing-scale batches. Pourbaix diagrams modeled the solubility of key metals in solution at various stages of the nutrient feed preparation and identified copper precipitation as the likely root cause of inconsistent media stability at commercial scale. Copper precipitation increased proportionally with temperature in bench-scale preparations of nutrient feed and temperature was identified as the root cause of copper precipitation at the commercial scale. Additionally, cell culture copper titration studies performed in bench-scale bioreactors linked copper-deficient mammalian cell culture to inconsistent titers at the commercial scale. Pourbaix diagrams can predict when trace metals are at risk of precipitating and can be used to mitigate risk during the scale-up of complex media preparations.
The most effective way to prevent and control infectious disease outbreak is through vaccines. The increasing use of vaccines has elevated the need to establish new manufacturing strategies. One of the major approaches is cell-based production, which creates a need for high cell density to enable higher cell production levels. This has led to development of the technology of cell carriers, including micro and macro cell carriers. To follow the production process, quantifying the number of cells on these carriers is required, as well as the tracking of their viability and proliferation. However, owing to various carriers’ unique structures, tracking the cell’s is challenging using current traditional assays that were originally developed for monolayers of adherent cells. The current “gold standard” method is counting cell nuclei, separating cells from the carrier, staining with crystal violet and visually counting under a microscope. This method is tedious and counts both live and dead cells. A few other techniques were developed but were specific to the carrier type and involved specialized equipment. In this study, we describe a broadly ranging method for counting cells on carriers that was developed and employed as part of the production of a vaccine for use in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The method is based on the Alamar blue dye, a well-known, common marker for cell activity, and was found to be successful in tracking cell adsorption, cell growth and viability on carriers. No separation of the cells from the carriers is needed, nor is any specialized equipment; the method is simple and rapid, and provides comprehensive details necessary for process control of viral vaccine production in cells. This method can be easily implemented in any of a number of cell-based processes and other unique platforms for measuring growth of encapsulated cells.
Mucociliary clearance is a crucial event that supports the elimination of inhaled particles, bacteria, pollution and hazardous agents from the human airways, and it also limits the diffusion of aerosolized drugs into the airway epithelium. In spite of its relevance, few in vitro models sufficiently address the cumulative effect of the steric and interactive barrier function of mucus on the one hand, and the dynamic mucus transport imposed by ciliary mucus propulsion on the other hand. Here, ad hoc mucus models of physiological and pathological mucus are combined with magnetic artificial cilia to model mucociliary transport in both physiological and pathological states. The Lego®-like concept adopted, in this study, enables the development of mucociliary clearance models with high versatility, since these can be easily modified to reproduce phenomena characteristic of healthy and diseased human airways, while allowing to determine the effect of each parameter and/or structure separately on the overall mucociliary transport. These Lego®-like airway models can be available off-the-shelf because they are exclusively made of readily available materials, thus ensuring reproducibility across different laboratories.
Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans are acidophilic chemolithoautotrophs that are commonly reported to exhibit diauxic population growth behavior where ferrous iron is oxidized before elemental sulfur when both are available, despite the higher energy content of sulfur. We have discovered sulfur dispersion formulations that enables sulfur oxidation before ferrous iron oxidation. The oxidation of dispersed sulfur can lower the culture pH within days below the range where aerobic ferrous iron oxidation can occur so that ferric iron reduction occurs which had previously been reported over extended incubation periods with untreated sulfur. Therefore, we demonstrate that this substrate utilization pattern is strongly dependent on the cell loading in relation to sulfur concentration, sulfur surface hydrophobicity, and the pH of the culture. Our dispersed sulfur formulation, lig-sulfur, can be used to support the rapid antibiotic selection of plasmid-transformed cells, which is not possible in liquid cultures where ferrous iron is the main source of energy for these acidophiles. Furthermore, we find that media containing lig-sulfur supports higher production of green fluorescent protein (GFP) compared to media containing ferrous iron. The use of dispersed sulfur is a valuable new tool for the development of engineered A. ferrooxidans strains and it provides a new method to control iron and sulfur oxidation behaviors.
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.
Fungal pathogens cause extensive plant diseases that damage crop production in the agricultural industry, resulting in annual crop loss, diminished food security, and historically significant epidemics. Though effective fungicides are available, their risks to the environment and animal health have increased the demand for more sustainable methods to control fungal pathogens. In plants, polygalacturonic-inhibiting proteins (PGIPs) play critical roles for resistance to fungal disease by inhibiting the pectin-depolymerizing activity of endopolygalacturonases (PGs), one type of enzyme secreted by pathogens that compromise plant cell walls and leave the plant susceptible to disease. Here, the interactions between PGIPs from Phaseolus vulgaris (PvPGIP1 and PvPGIP2) and PGs from Aspergillus niger (AnPG2), Botrytis cinerea (BcPG1, BcPG2), and Fusarium moniliforme (FmPG3) were reconstituted through a yeast two hybrid (Y2H) system to investigate the inhibition efficiency of various PvPGIP1 and 2 truncations and mutants. We found that tPvPGIP2_5-8, which contains LRR5 to LRR8 and is of only one-third the size of the full-length peptide, exhibits the same level of interactions with AnPG and BcPGs as the full length PvPGIP2 via Y2H. The inhibitory activities of tPvPGIP2_5-8 on the growth of A. niger were then examined and confirmed on pectin agar. Application of both full length PvPGIP2 and tPvPGIP2_5-8 clearly slows down the growth of A. niger and B. cinerea in the presence of pectin. The investigation on the sequence-function correlation of PvPGIP2 suggests that LRR5 could have the most essential structural feature for the inhibitory activities, and may be a possible target for the future engineering of PGIP with enhanced activity. This work highlights the potential of using plant-derived PGIPs as an exogenously applied fungal control agent both to plants and postharvest crops while minimally impacting the environment and human health.
We evaluated filtration behavior and virus removal capability for a mAb and plasma IgG under constant flow rate directly following flow-through column chromatography in an integrated process. For mAb solution with quantified host cell protein (HCP) content processed in flow-through mode on in-series mixed-mode AEX and modified CEX columns connected to the Planova BioEX filter (pool-less), HCP logarithmic reduction value (LRV) of 2.3 and 93.9% protein recovery were achieved for the process. Filtration behavior for 5 to 15 mg/mL plasma IgG run at flux of 10 to 100 LMH to 100 L/m2 throughput on Planova BioEX filters showed similar behavior across the protein concentrations tested although filtration pressure increased with throughput at 50 LMH and above, indicating the suitability of lower flux processes for continuous processing. Comparing both plasma IgG and mAb filtration behavior to four clogging models showed little difference in fit among the models, but with slightly better fit to the cake filtration model. Viral clearance tested by in-line spiking X-MuLV or MVM into purified plasma IgG showed robust removal at low flux. Integrating the Planova BioEX filter into continuous processes with column chromatography can achieve efficient downstream processing with reduced footprint and process time.
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.
Multiple impeller reactors are widely used due to their advanced gas utilization and an increased volumetric mass transfer coefficient. However, with the application of Rushton impellers, gas dispersion efficiency varies between the bottom and the upper impeller levels. The present study analyzes the individual flow regime, power input and gas hold-up in each compartment of a reactor equipped with four Rushton impellers. The results indicate that the pre-dispersion of the air introduced by the bottom impeller plays a key role in a better gas retention efficiency of the upper impellers. In contrast, a flooded bottom impeller adversely affects the gas dispersion of all impellers. A novel analysis of the bubble flow in the dispersed state via a two-phase CFD model reveals that a more homogenous distribution of air bubbles in the upper compartments leads to high compartment gas hold-up values, but fewer bubbles in the vicinity of the impellers. The measured and simulated data of this study indicate that the upper impellers' efficiency mostly depends on the flow regime of and the pre-dispersion by the bottom impeller rather than on the upper impellers' flow regimes. These results contribute to the understanding of essential mixing processes and scaling of aerated bioreactors.
pH is an important factor affecting the growth and production of microorganisms; especially, it is effective on the efficiency of ethanologenic microorganisms. It can change the ionization state of metabolites via the change in the charge of their functional groups that may lead to metabolic alteration. Here, we estimated the ionization state of metabolites and balanced the charge of reactions in genome-scale metabolic models of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Escherichia coli, and Zymomonas mobilis at pH levels 5, 6, and 7. The robustness analysis was first implemented to anticipate the effect of proton exchange flux on growth rates for the constructed metabolic models at various pH. In accordance with previous experimental reports, the models predict that Z. mobilis is more sensitive to pH rather than S. cerevisiae and the yeast is more regulated by pH rather than E. coli. Then, a systemic approach was proposed to predict the pH effect on metabolic change and to find effective reactions on ethanol production in S. cerevisiae. The correlated reactions with ethanol production at predicted optimal pH in a range of proton exchange rates determined by robustness analysis were identified using the Pearson correlation coefficient. Then, fluxes of these reactions were applied to cluster the various pHs by principal component analysis and to identify the role of these reactions on metabolic differentiation because of pH change. Finally, 12 reactions were selected for up and down-regulation to improve ethanol production. Enzyme Regulators of the selected reactions were identified using the Brenda database and 11 selected regulators were screened and optimized via Plackett-Burman and 2-level full factorial designs, respectively. The proposed approach has enhanced yields of ethanol from 0.18 to 0.36 mol/mol carbon. Hence, not only a comprehensive approach for understanding the effect of pH on metabolism was proposed in this work, but also it successfully introduced key manipulations for ethanol overproduction.
During continuous very high gravity (VHG) fermentation, yeast cells exhibit sustained oscillation of residual glucose, ethanol, and biomass, which remains a fundamental and unanswered question associated with product inhibition. In this study, the oscillating process was characterized through transcriptome and metabolome analysis in one sinusoid cycle. By integrating analysis of 26 metabolites and 90 genes related to carbon metabolism, the results confirmed that fermentation oscillation could be attributed to intercellular metabolic oscillation with phase difference of sinusoidal waveform. Furthermore, expression changes of stress response genes indicated that dynamic ethanol inhibition was a primary factor responsible for the oscillation of metabolism. This study not only contributes to elucidation of the mechanism of oscillating fermentation through strong product inhibition, but also provides new understanding of other fermentation processes in an unsteady state.
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.
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.
The pathophysiological response following spinal cord injury (SCI) is characterized by a complex cellular cascade that limits regeneration. Biomaterial and stem cell combination therapies have shown synergistic effects, compared to their interventions independent of each other, and represent a promising approach towards regaining function after injury. In this study, we combine our polyethylene glycol (PEG) cell delivery platform with lentiviral-mediated overexpression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 to improve embryonic day 14 (E14) spinal progenitor transplant survival. PEG tubes loaded with lentivirus encoding for IL-10 were implanted immediately following injury into a mouse SCI hemisection model. Two weeks after tube implantation, mouse E14 spinal progenitors were injected directly into the integrated tubes, which served as a soft substrate for cell transplantation. Together, the tubes with the IL-10 encoding lentivirus improved E14 spinal progenitor survival, assessed at two weeks post-transplantation (four weeks post-injury). Mice receiving IL-10 lentivirus-laden tubes had on average 8.1% of E14 spinal progenitors survive compared to 0.7% in mice receiving transplants without tubes, an 11.5-fold difference. Surviving E14 spinal progenitors gave rise to neurons when injected into tubes. Additionally, axon elongation and remyelination was observed, in addition to a faster rate of functional recovery in mice receiving anti-inflammatory tubes with E14 spinal progenitor delivery. This system affords increased control over the transplantation microenvironment, offering the potential to improve stem cell-mediated tissue regeneration.
Silk fibroin (SF) from Bombyx mori has superior properties as both a textile and a biomaterial, and has been used to functionalize the surfaces of various medical inorganic materials including titanium (Ti). In this paper, we endowed SF with reversible binding ability to Ti by embedding a titanium binding motif (minTBP-1, RKLPDA). Artificial SF proteins were first created by conjugating gene cassettes for SF motif (AGSGAG) and minTBP-1 motif with different ratios, which have been shown to bind reversibly to Ti surfaces in quartz crystal microbalance analyses. Based on these results, the functionalized SF (TiBP-SF) containing the designed peptide [TS[(AGSGAG)3AS]2RKLPDAS]8 was prepared from the cocoon of transgenic B. mori, which accelerates the ossific differentiation of MC3T3-E1 cells when coated on titanium substrates. Thus, TiBP-SF presents an alternative for endowing the surfaces of titanium materials with osseointegration functionality, which would allow the exploration of potential applications in the medical field.