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  1. Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are used extensively to produce protein therapeutics, such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), in the biopharmaceutical industry. MAbs are large proteins that are energetically demanding to synthesize and secrete; therefore, high-producing CHO cell lines that are engineered for maximum metabolic efficiency are needed to meet increasing demands for mAb production. Previous studies have identified that high-producing cell lines possess a distinct metabolic phenotype when compared to low-producing cell lines. In particular, it was found that high mAb production is correlated to lactate consumption and elevated TCA cycle flux. We hypothesized that enhancing flux through the mitochondrial TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation would lead to increased mAb productivities and final titers. To test this hypothesis, we overexpressed peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor 𝛾 co-activator-1⍺ (PGC-1⍺), a gene that promotes mitochondrial metabolism, in an IgG-producing parental CHO cell line. Stable cell pools overexpressing PGC-1⍺ exhibited increased oxygen consumption, indicating increased mitochondrial metabolism, as well as increased mAb specific productivity compared to the parental line. We also performed 13C metabolic flux analysis (MFA) to quantify how PGC-1⍺ overexpression alters intracellular metabolic fluxes, revealing not only increased TCA cycle flux, but global upregulation of cellular metabolic activity. This study demonstrates the potential of rationally engineering the metabolism of industrial cell lines to improve overall mAb productivity and to increase the abundance of high-producing clones in stable cell pools. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Algal cultivations are strongly influenced by light and dark cycles. In this study, genome-scale metabolic models were applied to optimize nutrient supply during alternating light and dark cycles ofChlorella vulgaris. This approach lowered the glucose requirement by 75% and nitrate requirement by 23%, respectively, while maintaining high final biomass densities that were more than 80% of glucose-fed heterotrophic culture. Furthermore, by strictly controlling glucose feeding during the alternating cycles based on model-input, yields of biomass, lutein, and fatty acids per gram of glucose were more than threefold higher with cycling compared to heterotrophic cultivation. Next, the model was incorporated into open-loop and closed-loop control systems and compared with traditional fed-batch systems. Closed-loop systems which incorporated a feed-optimizing algorithm increased biomass yield on glucose more than twofold compared to standard fed-batch cultures for cycling cultures. Finally, the performance was compared to conventional proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controllers. Both simulation and experimental results exhibited superior performance for genome-scale model process control (GMPC) compared to traditional PID systems, reducing the overall measured value and setpoint error by 80% over 8 h. Overall, this approach provides researchers with the capability to enhance nutrient utilization and productivity of cell factories systematically by combining genome-scale models and controllers into an integrated platform with superior performance to conventional fed-batch and PID methodologies.

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  3. Abstract

    Previously, we identified six inhibitory metabolites (IMs) accumulating in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cultures using AMBIC 1.0 community reference medium that negatively impacted culture performance. The goal of the current study was to modify the medium to control IM accumulation through design of experiments (DOE). Initial over‐supplementation of precursor amino acids (AAs) by 100% to 200% in the culture medium revealed positive correlations between initial AA concentrations and IM levels. A screening design identified 5 AA targets, Lys, Ile, Trp, Leu, Arg, as key contributors to IMs. Response surface design analysis was used to reduce initial AA levels between 13% and 33%, and these were then evaluated in batch and fed‐batch cultures. Lowering AAs in basal and feed medium and reducing feed rate from 10% to 5% reduced inhibitory metabolites HICA and NAP by up to 50%, MSA by 30%, and CMP by 15%. These reductions were accompanied by a 13% to 40% improvement in peak viable cell densities and 7% to 50% enhancement in IgG production in batch and fed‐batch processes, respectively. This study demonstrates the value of tuning specific AA levels in reference basal and feed media using statistical design methodologies to lower problematic IMs.

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  5. Abstract

    Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, predominant hosts for recombinant biotherapeutics production, generate lactate as a major glycolysis by‐product. High lactate levels adversely impact cell growth and productivity. The goal of this study was to reduce lactate in CHO cell cultures by adding chemical inhibitors to hexokinase‐2 (HK2), the enzyme catalyzing the conversion of glucose to glucose 6‐phosphate, and examine their impact on lactate accumulation, cell growth, protein titers, andN‐glycosylation. Five inhibitors of HK2 enzyme at different concentrations were evaluated, of which 2‐deoxy‐d‐glucose (2DG) and 5‐thio‐d‐glucose (5TG) successfully reduced lactate accumulation with only limited impacts on CHO cell growth. Individual 2DG and 5TG supplementation led to a 35%–45% decrease in peak lactate, while their combined supplementation resulted in a 60% decrease in peak lactate. Inhibitor supplementation led to at least 50% decrease in moles of lactate produced per mol of glucose consumed. Recombinant EPO‐Fc titers peaked earlier relative to the end of culture duration in supplemented cultures leading to at least 11% and as high as 32% increase in final EPO‐Fc titers. Asparagine, pyruvate, and serine consumption rates also increased in the exponential growth phase in 2DG and 5TG treated cultures, thus, rewiring central carbon metabolism due to low glycolytic fluxes.N‐glycan analysis of EPO‐Fc revealed an increase in high mannose glycans from 5% in control cultures to 25% and 37% in 2DG and 5TG‐supplemented cultures, respectively. Inhibitor supplementation also led to a decrease in bi‐, tri‐, and tetra‐antennary structures and up to 50% lower EPO‐Fc sialylation. Interestingly, addition of 2DG led to the incorporation of 2‐deoxy‐hexose (2DH) on EPO‐FcN‐glycans and addition of 5TG resulted in the first‐ever observedN‐glycan incorporation of 5‐thio‐hexose (5TH). Six percent to 23% ofN‐glycans included 5TH moieties, most likely 5‐thio‐mannose and/or 5‐thio‐galactose and/or possibly 5‐thio‐N‐acetylglucosamine, and 14%–33% ofN‐glycans included 2DH moieties, most likely 2‐deoxy‐mannose and/or 2‐deoxy‐galactose, for cultures treated with different concentrations of 5TG and 2DG, respectively. Our study is the first to evaluate the impact of these glucose analogs on CHO cell growth, protein production, cell metabolism,N‐glycosylation processing, and formation of alternative glycoforms.

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