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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2018 Jan;115(1):165-173. doi: 10.1002/bit.26453.

Karyotype variation of CHO host cell lines over time in culture characterized by chromosome counting and chromosome painting.

Author information

Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology, Graz, Austria.
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG, Biberach, Germany.


Genomic rearrangements are a common phenomenon in rapidly growing cell lines such as Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, a feature that in the context of production of biologics may lead to cell line and product instability. Few methods exist to assess such genome wide instability. Here, we use the population distribution of chromosome numbers per cell as well as chromosome painting to quantify the karyotypic variation in several CHO host cell lines. CHO-S, CHO-K1 8 mM glutamine, and CHO-K1 cells adapted to grow in media containing no glutamine were analyzed over up to 6 months in culture. All three cell lines were clearly distinguishable by their chromosome number distribution and by the specific chromosome rearrangements that were present in each population. Chromosome Painting revealed a predominant karyotype for each cell line at the start of the experiment, completed by a large number of variants present in each population. Over time in culture, the predominant karyotype changed for CHO-S and CHO-K1, with the diversity increasing and new variants appearing, while CHO-K1 0 mM Gln preferred chromosome pattern increased in percent of the population over time. As control, Chinese hamster lung fibroblasts were shown to also contain an increasing number of variants over time in culture.


CHO; chromosome painting; cytogenetic; host cell lines; karyotype

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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