Mild hypothermia upregulates myc and xbp1s expression and improves anti-TNFα production in CHO cells

Mauro Torres, Roberto Zúñiga, Matias Gutierrez, Mauricio Vergara, Norberto Collazo, Juan Reyes, Julio Berrios, Juan Carlos Aguillon, Maria Carmen Molina, Claudia Altamirano

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Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the most frequently used host for commercial production of therapeutic proteins. However, their low protein productivity in culture is the main hurdle to overcome. Mild hypothermia has been established as an effective strategy to enhance protein specific productivity, although the causes of such improvement still remain unclear. The self-regulation of global transcriptional regulatory factors, such as Myc and XBP1s, seems to be involved in increased the recombinant protein production at low temperature. This study evaluated the impact of low temperature in CHO cell cultures on myc and xbp1s expression and their effects on culture performance and cell metabolism. Two anti-TNFα producing CHO cell lines were selected considering two distinct phenotypes: i.e. maximum cell growth, (CN1) and maximum specific anti-TNFα production (CN2), and cultured at 37, 33 and 31C in a batch system. Low temperature led to an increase in the cell viability, the expression of the recombinant anti-TNFα and the production of anti-TNFα both in CN1 and CN2. The higher production of anti-TNFα in CN2 was mainly associated with the large expression of anti-TNFα. Under mild hypothermia myc and xbp1s expression levels were directly correlated to the maximal viable cell density and the specific anti-TNFα productivity, respectively. Moreover, cells showed a simultaneous metabolic shift from production to consumption of lactate and from consumption to production of glutamine, which were exacerbated by reducing culture temperature and coincided with the increased anti-TNFα production. Our current results provide new insights of the regulation of myc and xbp1s in CHO cells at low temperature, and suggest that the presence and magnitude of the metabolic shift might be a relevant metabolic marker of productive cell line.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0194510
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


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