Engineering selection stringency on expression vector for the production of recombinant human alpha1-antitrypsin using Chinese Hamster ovary cells.
ABSTRACT: Expression vector engineering technology is one of the most convenient and timely method for cell line development to meet the rising demand of novel production cell line with high productivity. Destabilization of dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) selection marker by addition of AU-rich elements and murine ornithine decarboxylase PEST region was previously shown to improve the specific productivities of recombinant human interferon gamma in CHO-DG44 cells. In this study, we evaluated novel combinations of engineered motifs for further selection marker attenuation to improve recombinant human alpha-1-antitrypsin (rhA1AT) production. Motifs tested include tandem PEST elements to promote protein degradation, internal ribosome entry site (IRES) mutations to impede translation initiation, and codon-deoptimized dhfr selection marker to reduce translation efficiency.After a 2-step methotrexate (MTX) amplification to 50 nM that took less than 3 months, the expression vector with IRES point mutation and dhfr-PEST gave a maximum titer of 1.05 g/l with the top producer cell pool. Further MTX amplification to 300 nM MTX gave a maximum titer of 1.15 g/l. Relative transcript copy numbers and dhfr protein expression in the cell pools were also analysed to demonstrate that the transcription of rhA1AT and dhfr genes were correlated due to the IRES linkage, and that the strategies of further attenuating dhfr protein expression with the use of a mutated IRES and tandem PEST, but not codon deoptimization, were effective in reducing dhfr protein levels in suspension serum free culture.Novel combinations of engineered motifs for further selection marker attenuation were studied to result in the highest reported recombinant protein titer to our knowledge in shake flask batch culture of stable mammalian cell pools at 1.15 g/l, highlighting applicability of expression vector optimization in generating high producing stable cells essential for recombinant protein therapeutics production. Our results also suggest that codon usage of the selection marker should be considered for applications that may involve gene amplification and serum free suspension culture, since the overall codon usage and thus the general expression and regulation of host cell proteins may be affected in the surviving cells.
Project description:Dectin-1 (CLEC7A) is a C-type lectin receptor that binds to ?-glucans found in fungal cell walls to act as a major pattern recognition receptor (PRR). Since ?-glucans epitope is not present in human cells, we are of the opinion that Dectin-1 can have therapeutic functions against fungal infections. We thus set out to produce a soluble extracellular domain of murine Dectin-1 (called sDectin-1) in sufficient titers to facilitate such studies in mouse models. Since sDectin-1 has previously been shown to be glycosylated, we chose to produce this protein using Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells, a mammalian host cell line suitable for the high-titer production of recombinant glycoproteins. To ensure a high titer production of sDectin-1 and minimize the effects of gene fragmentation, we constructed a mammalian expression vector with a PEST-destabilized dhfr amplifiable marker downstream of an attenuated IRES element, which was in turn downstream of the sDectin-1 gene and a CMV IE promoter. Stably transfected and MTX-amplified cell pools were generated using this vector, and maximum sDectin-1 titers of 246 mg/l and 598 mg/l were obtained in shake flask batch culture and bioreactor fed-batch culture respectively. The purified recombinant sDectin-1 was shown to be glycosylated. Protein functionality was also demonstrated by its ability to bind to zymosan particles and to the cell wall of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We describe for the first time the use of an attenuated IRES-linked PEST-destabilized dhfr amplifiable marker for the production of recombinant proteins with stably amplified cell pools. With our process, we reached the highest reported titer for producing recombinant proteins smaller than 50 kDa in cell pools. sDectin-1 protein produced is glycosylated and functional. This vector design can thus be used efficiently for the high-titer production of functional recombinant proteins.
Project description:Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the biopharmaceutical industry's primary means of manufacturing therapeutic proteins, including monoclonal antibodies. The major challenge in cell line development for the production of recombinant biopharmaceuticals lies in generating and isolating rare high-producing stable clones, amongst thousands of low-producing or unstable clones, in a short period of time. One approach to accomplish this is to use the glutamine synthetase (GS) selection system, together with the GS inhibitor, methionine sulfoximine (MSX). However, MSX can only increase protein productivity to a limited extent. Often productivity will drop when MSX is removed from the system. We evaluated a congenital GS mutation, R324C, which causes glutamine deficiency in human as an attenuated selection marker for CHO cell line generation. We also created a panel of GS mutants with diminished GS activity. Our results demonstrated that using attenuated GS mutants as selection markers significantly increased antibody production of stably transfected pools. Furthermore, these stably transfected pools sustained high productivity levels for an extended period of time, whereas cells transfected with wild-type GS lost considerable protein productivity over time, particularly after MSX was removed. In summary, the use of attenuated GS as a selection marker in CHO cell line development bypasses the need for MSX, and generates stable clones with significantly higher antibody productivity.Abbreviations: CHO: Chinese hamster ovary; CMV: Cytomegalovirus; DHFR: Dihydrofolate reductase; GFP: Green fluorescent protein; GOI: gene-of-interest; GS: Glutamine synthetase; IRES: internal ribosomal entry site; MSX: Methionine sulfoximine; MTX: Methotrexate; psGS: pseudoGS; RVDs: Repeated variable di-residues; TALENs: transcription activator-like effector nucleases; VCD: Viable cell density; ZFNs: zinc finger nucleases.
Project description:Amplification of the dihydrofolate reductase gene (Dhfr) by methotrexate (Mtx) exposure is commonly used for recombinant protein expression in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. However, this method is both time- and labor-intensive, and the high-producing cells that are generated are frequently unstable in culture. Another gene amplification method is based on using a plasmid bearing a mammalian replication initiation region (IR) and a matrix attachment region (MAR), which result in the spontaneous initiation of gene amplification in transfected cells. The IR/MAR and Dhfr/Mtx methods of gene amplification are based on entirely different principles. In this study, we combine these two methods to yield a novel method, termed the IR/MAR-Dhfr fusion method, which was used to express three proteins, the Fc receptor, GFP, and recombinant antibody. The fusion method resulted in a dramatic increase in expression of all three proteins in two CHO sub-lines, DXB-11, and DG44. The IR/MAR-Dhfr fusion amplified the genes rapidly and efficiently, and produced larger amounts of antibody than the Dhfr/Mtx or IR/MAR methods alone. While the amplified structure produced by the Dhfr/Mtx method was highly unstable, and the antibody production rate rapidly decreased with the culture time of the cells, the IR/MAR-Dhfr fusion method resulted in stable amplification and generated clonal cells that produced large amounts of antibody protein over a long period of time. In summary, the novel IR/MAR-Dhfr fusion method enables isolation of stable cells that produce larger amounts of a target recombinant protein more rapidly and easily than either the Dhfr/Mtx or IR/MAR methods alone.
Project description:Gene transfer and drug selection systems that enforce ongoing transgene expression in vitro and in vivo which are compatible with human pharmaceutical drugs are currently underdeveloped. Here, we report on the utility of incorporating human enzyme muteins that confer resistance to the lymphotoxic/immunosuppressive drugs methotrexate (MTX) and mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) in a multicistronic lentiviral vector for in vivo T lymphocyte selection. We found that co-expression of human dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR(FS); L22F, F31S) and inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase II (IMPDH2(IY); T333I, S351Y) conferred T cell resistance to the cytocidal and anti-proliferative effects of these drugs at concentrations that can be achieved clinically (up to 0.1 µM MTX and 1.0 µM MPA). Furthermore, using a immunodeficient mouse model that supports the engraftment of central memory derived human T cells, in vivo selection studies demonstrate that huEGFRt(+)DHFR(FS+)IMPDH2(IY+) T cells could be enriched following adoptive transfer either by systemic administration of MTX alone (4.4 -fold), MMF alone (2.9-fold), or combined MTX and MMF (4.9-fold). These findings demonstrate the utility of both DHFR(FS)/MTX and IMPDH2(IY)/MMF for in vivo selection of lentivirally transduced human T cells. Vectors incorporating these muteins in combination with other therapeutic transgenes may facilitate the selective engraftment of therapeutically active cells in recipients.
Project description:Stepwise increases in methotrexate (MTX) concentration over a 4-year period led to the selection of a highly drug-resistant (2 x 10(-4) M MTX) Drosophila cell line. Uptake experiments with [3H]MTX showed a slightly lower level of intracellular MTX in the resistant S3Mtx cells than in the susceptible S3 parental cell line. Southern blot analysis demonstrated that the gene for the MTX target, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), was not significantly amplified in the resistant line. To determine the molecular basis for resistance, the DHFR cDNA sequence was amplified by polymerase chain reaction from both the resistant and susceptible cells. Sequence comparison revealed a single T to A base change at nucleotide 89, which resulted in the substitution of Gln for Leu at residue 30 in S3Mtx cells. Expression and purification of the wild-type and mutant DHFR from E. coli cells showed that the S3Mtx enzyme had a reduced binding affinity for the antifolates, MTX and trimethoprim, with 15-fold higher K[d] and K[i] values than those from the wild-type enzyme. Molecular modeling confirmed that the replacement of the hydrophobic Leu by the more polar Gln was in the substrate binding site and thus would decrease the binding of MTX. These results suggest that the high level of MTX resistance in the selected cell line can be attributed to the mutation in the DHFR gene and also provides a model for pesticide resistance in insects.
Project description:PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of genetic variations and the expression of the reduced folate carrier (RFC) and dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) on the drug sensitivity to methotrexate (MTX) in different cancer cell lines. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We examined the six human cancer cell lines (MCF-7, AGS, A549, NCI-H23, HCT-116 and Saos-2). The cytotoxicity of MTX was measured by sulforhodamine B (SRB) assay. The expressions of the DHFR and RFC were evaluated by real-time PCR and western blotting. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the DHFR and two SNPs of the RFC were genotyped. RESULTS: The IC??s of MTX was in an extensively broad range from 6.05±0.81 nM to>1,000 nM in the cell lines. The Saos-2 (>1,000 nM) and MCF-7 (114.31±5.34 nM) cells were most resistant to MTX; in contrast, the AGS and HCT-116 cells were highly sensitive to MTX with an IC(50) of 6.05±0.81 nM and 13.56±3.76 nM, respectively. A reciprocal change of the RFC and DHFR mRNA expression was found between the MTX-sensitive AGS and MTX-resistant Saos-2 cells. There was no significant difference in the expression levels of RFC protein in both the AGS and Saos-2 cells, whereas DHFR protein was more increased in the MTX-resistant Saos-2 cells treated with MTX. The genotype of the MTX-sensitive AGS cells were mutant variants of the DHFR; in contrast, the Saos-2 cells had the wild-type of the DHFR. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, this study showed that inverse change of the RFC and DHFR mRNA and protein expression was associated with RFC and DHFR polymorphisms and it is postulated that this phenomenon might play an important role in sensitivity of certain cancers to MTX.
Project description:Genetic modification of human T cells to express transgene-encoded polypeptides, such as tumor targeting chimeric antigen receptors, is an emerging therapeutic modality showing promise in clinical trials. The development of simple and efficient techniques for purifying transgene(+) T cells is needed to facilitate the derivation of cell products with uniform potency and purity. Unlike selection platforms that utilize physical methods (immunomagnetic or sorting) that are technically cumbersome and limited by the expense and availability of clinical-grade components, we focused on designing a selection system on the basis of the pharmaceutical drug methotrexate (MTX), a potent allosteric inhibitor of human dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). Here, we describe the development of self inactivating (SIN) lentiviral vectors that direct the coordinated expression of a CD19-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), the human EGFRt tracking/suicide construct, and a methotrexate-resistant human DHFR mutein (huDHFR(FS); L22F, F31S). Our results demonstrate that huDHFR(FS) expression renders lentivirally transduced primary human CD45RO(+)CD62L(+) central memory T cells resistant to lymphotoxic concentrations of MTX up to 0.1??M. Our modular complementary DNA (cDNA) design insures that selected MTX-resistant T cells co-express functionally relevant levels of the CD19-specific CAR and EGFRt. This selection system on the basis of huDHFR(FS) and MTX has considerable potential utility in the manufacturing of clinical-grade T cell products.
Project description:Histidine Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry (His-HDX-MS) determines the HDX rates at the imidazole C(2)-hydrogen of histidine residues. This method provides not only the HDX rates but also the pK(a) values of histidine imidazole rings. His-HDX-MS was used to probe the microenvironment of histidine residues of E. coli dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), an enzyme proposed to undergo multiple conformational changes during catalysis.Using His-HDX-MS, the pK(a) values and the half-lives (t(1/2)) of HDX reactions of five histidine residues of apo-DHFR, DHFR in complex with methotrexate (DHFR-MTX), DHFR in complex with MTX and NADPH (DHFR-MTX-NADPH), and DHFR in complex with folate and NADP+ (DHFR-folate-NADP+) were determined. The results showed that the two parameters (pK(a) and t(1/2)) are sensitive to the changes of the microenvironment around the histidine residues. Although four of the five histidine residues are located far from the active site, ligand binding affected their pK(a), t(1/2) or both. This is consistent with previous observations of ligand binding-induced distal conformational changes on DHFR. Most of the observed pK(a) and t(1/2) changes could be rationalized using the X-ray structures of apo-DHFR, DHFR-MTX-NADPH, and DHFR-folate-NADP+. The availability of the neutron diffraction structure of DHFR-MTX enabled us to compare the protonation states of histidine imidazole rings.Our results demonstrate the usefulness of His-HDX-MS in probing the microenvironments of histidine residues within proteins.
Project description:Methotrexate(MTX)-resistant human promyelocytic-leukaemia cells (HL-60) derived from MTX-sensitive cells have a 20-fold increase in dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) activity as compared with the sensitive cells. This increase is not associated with a concomitant increase in DHFR protein as determined by sodium dodecyl sulphate/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis and by immunological methods using mouse anti-DHFR antibody. The rate of DHFR synthesis is similar in both cell lines. Furthermore, both the sensitive and resistant cells have similar amounts of RNA hybridizing to a DHFR complementary-DNA probe, correlating well with the lack of increase in DHFR protein. DHFR-gene dosages were similar in both types of cells. We conclude that the 20-fold increase in DHFR activity present in these MTX-resistant cells is not due to the overproduction of DHFR but due to the expression of a more active form of the enzyme.
Project description:Methotrexate (MTX) is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent that kills cancer cells by binding dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) as a competitive inhibitor. Due to its non-selectivity, MTX also impairs normal (non-cancerous) cell function and causes long-term damage to healthy tissue. These consequences have been investigated extensively in bone-derived cells due to their sensitivity to the drug. While DHFR likely plays a role in normal cell response to MTX, research in this area is limited. Moreover, how MTX sensitivity differs among cell types responsible for maintaining connective tissues is unknown. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of DHFR and subsequent nucleotide synthesis in normal cell response to MTX. We also sought to compare adverse effects of MTX among normal cell types to identify sensitive populations and resistant cell sources for regenerative procedures targeting patients undergoing chemotherapy. DHFR overexpression or exogenous amino acid + nucleoside delivery rescued normal cells from adverse MTX effects. Conversely, DHFR knockdown impaired MTX-treated adipose-derived stem cell (ASC) osteogenesis. Proliferation of ASCs and bone marrow stem cells was more resistant to MTX than that of terminally differentiated osteoblasts. However, stem cells became susceptible to the drug after beginning differentiation. These results suggest that the ability of stem cells to survive and to maintain their surrounding tissues likely depends on whether they are in a "stem" state when exposed to MTX. Therapeutic strategies that delay the differentiation of stem cells until clearance of the drug may produce more favorable outcomes in the long-term health of treated tissues.