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Keywords:

  • protein disulfide isomerase (PDI);
  • endoplasmic reticulum oxidoreductase (ERO1L);
  • Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells;
  • inducible expression system

Abstract

To enhance specific antibody (Ab) productivity (qAb) of recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (rCHO) cells, post-translational limitations in the endoplasmic reticulum during antibody production should be relieved. Previously, we reported that overexpression of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), which catalyzes disulfide bond exchanges and assists in protein folding of newly synthesized proteins, enhanced qAb of rCHO cells by about 27% (Mohan et al., 2007, Biotechnol Bioeng 98:611–615) . Since the rate limiting step in disulfide bond formation is found to be the regeneration of oxidized PDI, the oxidation state of PDI, as well as the amount of PDI, might be important. Endoplasmic reticulum oxidoreductase (ERO1L) maintains PDI in an oxidized state so that disulfide bond formation occurs. Here, PDI and its helper protein, ERO1L were overexpressed in rCHO cells producing an Ab in an attempt to ease the bottleneck in disulfide bond formation, and hence, Ab folding and secretion. Transient expression of ERO1L alone and with PDI resulted in enhanced qAb by 37% and 55%, respectively. In contrast, under stable inducible co-overexpression of PDI and ERO1L, the qAb was unaffected or negatively affected by varying degrees, depending on the individual expression levels of these genes. In stable clones with altered oxidation state of PDI due to co-overexpression of PDI and ERO1L, secretion of Ab was hindered and PDI-associated retention of Ab was seen in the cells. Under transient gene expression, secretion of Ab was not compromised. The data presented here suggests a possible mechanism of PDI/ERO1L interaction with the target Ab and shows how the expression levels of these proteins could affect the qAb of this Ab-producing rCHO cell line. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2010;107: 337–346. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.