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J Biotechnol. 2007 May 10;129(4):651-7. Epub 2007 Feb 14.

Improvement of the energy metabolism of recombinant CHO cells by cell sorting for reduced mitochondrial membrane potential.

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  • 1Institute for Applied Microbiology, Department of Biotechnology, Universität für Bodenkultur, Muthgasse 18, Vienna, Austria.


One of the major problems in process performance of mammalian cell cultures is the production of lactic acid. Cell specific glucose uptake rates usually correlate to glucose concentration and approximately 80% of the metabolised glucose is converted into lactic acid. As the mitochondrial membrane potential was shown to correlate to cell specific glucose uptake rates, we used Rhodamine 123, a lipophilic cationic dye for cell sorting to improve the energy metabolism of existing production cell lines. Two recombinant CHO cell lines with known differences in lactic acid production rate were used to evaluate Rhodamine 123 staining as a descriptor for glucose uptake rates and to determine whether it is possible to isolate subclones with altered metabolic properties. Such subclones would exhibit an improved process performance, and in addition could be used as models for genomic and metabolic studies. From the cell line with high lactate production, a subclone sorted for reduced mitochondrial membrane potential was found to have a lower specific lactate formation rate compared to the parental cell line in batch cultures. In addition, the glucose consumption rate was also reduced, while both the growth rate and the final cell concentration were increased. A subclone sorted for high mitochondrial membrane potential, on the other hand, had a higher glucose consumption rate, a higher lactate production rate and reduced growth. The potential of using flow cytometric cell sorting methods based on physiological activity for cell line optimisation is discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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