Industrial bioprocesses place high demands on the energy metabolism of host cells to meet biosynthetic requirements for maximal protein expression. Identifying metabolic phenotypes that promote high expression is therefore a major goal of the biotech industry. We conducted a series of C flux analysis studies to examine the metabolic response to IgG expression during early stationary phase of CHO cell cultures grown in 3L fed-batch bioreactors. We examined eight clones expressing four different IgGs and compared with three non-expressing host-cell controls. Some clones were genetically manipulated to be apoptosis-resistant by expressing Bcl-2Δ, which correlated with increased IgG production and elevated glucose metabolism. The metabolic phenotypes of the non-expressing, IgG-expressing, and Bcl-2Δ/IgG-expressing clones were fully segregated by hierarchical clustering analysis. Lactate consumption and citric acid cycle fluxes were most strongly associated with specific IgG productivity. These studies indicate that enhanced oxidative metabolism is a characteristic of high-producing CHO cell lines.
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