Carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to study the metabolism of a murine hybridoma cell line at two feed glutamine concentrations, 4.0 and 1.7 mM. Carbon-13 labeling patterns were used in conjunction with nutrient uptake rates to calculate the metabolic fluxes through the glycolytic pathway, the pentose shunt, the malate shunt, lipid biosynthesis, and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle. Decreasing the feed glutamine concentration significantly decreased glutamine uptake but had little effect on glucose metabolism. A significant incrase in antibody productivity occurred upon decreasing the feed glutamine level. The increased antibody productivity in concert with decreased glutamine uptake and no apparent change in glucolytic metabolism suggests that antibody production was not energy limited. Metabolic flux calculations indicate that (1) approximately 92% of the glucose consumed proceeds directly through glycolysis with 8% channeled through the pentose shunt; (2) lipid biosynthesis appears to be greater than malate shunt activity; and (3) considerable exchange occurs between TCA cycle intermediates and amino acid metabolic pools, leading to substantial loss of 13C label from the TCA cycle. These results illustrate that 13NMR spectroscopy is a powerfulf tool in the calculation of metabolic fluxes, particularly for exchange pathways where no net flux occurs. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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