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Adv Biochem Eng Biotechnol. 2014;139:227-43. doi: 10.1007/10_2013_239.

Transcriptomics as a tool for assessing the scalability of mammalian cell perfusion systems.

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Cell Culture Development, Global Biological Development Bayer HealthCare, 800 Dwight Way, Berkeley, CA, 94710, USA.


DNA microarray-based transcriptomics have been used to determine the time course of laboratory and manufacturing-scale perfusion bioreactors in an attempt to characterize cell physiological state at these two bioreactor scales. Given the limited availability of genomic data for baby hamster kidney (BHK) cells, a Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-based microarray was used following a feasibility assessment of cross-species hybridization. A heat shock experiment was performed using both BHK and CHO cells and resulting DNA microarray data were analyzed using a filtering criteria of perfect match (PM)/single base mismatch (MM) > 1.5 and PM-MM > 50 to exclude probes with low specificity or sensitivity for cross-species hybridizations. For BHK cells, 8910 probe sets (39 %) passed the cutoff criteria, whereas 12,961 probe sets (56 %) passed the cutoff criteria for CHO cells. Yet, the data from BHK cells allowed distinct clustering of heat shock and control samples as well as identification of biologically relevant genes as being differentially expressed, indicating the utility of cross-species hybridization. Subsequently, DNA microarray analysis was performed on time course samples from laboratory- and manufacturing-scale perfusion bioreactors that were operated under the same conditions. A majority of the variability (37 %) was associated with the first principal component (PC-1). Although PC-1 changed monotonically with culture duration, the trends were very similar in both the laboratory and manufacturing-scale bioreactors. Therefore, despite time-related changes to the cell physiological state, transcriptomic fingerprints were similar across the two bioreactor scales at any given instance in culture. Multiple genes were identified with time-course expression profiles that were very highly correlated (> 0.9) with bioprocess variables of interest. Although the current incomplete annotation limits the biological interpretation of these observations, their full potential may be realized in due course when richer genomic data become available. By taking a pragmatic approach of transcriptome fingerprinting, we have demonstrated the utility of systems biology to support the comparability of laboratory and manufacturing-scale perfusion systems. Scale-down model qualification is the first step in process characterization and hence is an integral component of robust regulatory filings. Augmenting the current paradigm, which relies primarily on cell culture and product quality information, with gene expression data can help make a substantially stronger case for similarity. With continued advances in systems biology approaches, we expect them to be seamlessly integrated into bioprocess development, which can translate into more robust and high yielding processes that can ultimately reduce cost of care for patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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