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Keywords:

  • CHO;
  • SUnSET;
  • puromycin;
  • protein synthesis;
  • bioprocessing

Due to the high medical and commercial value of recombinant proteins for clinical and diagnostic purposes, the protein synthesis machinery of mammalian host cells is the subject of extensive research by the biopharmaceutical industry. RNA translation and protein synthesis are steps that may determine the extent of growth and productivity of host cells. To address the problems of utilization of current radioisotope methods with proprietary media, we have focused on the application of an alternative method of measuring protein synthesis in recombinant Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. This method employs puromycin as a nonradioactive label which incorporates into nascent polypeptide chains and is detectable by western blotting. This method, which is referred to as SUnSET, successfully demonstrated the expected changes in protein synthesis in conditions that inhibit and restore translation activity and was reproducibly quantifiable. The study of the effects of feed and sodium butyrate addition on protein synthesis by SUnSET revealed an increase following 1 h feed supplementation while a high concentration of sodium butyrate was able to decrease translation during the same treatment period. Finally, SUnSET was used to compare protein synthesis activity during batch culture of the CHO cell line in relation to growth. The results indicate that as the cells approached the end of batch culture, the global rate of protein synthesis declined in parallel with the decreasing growth rate. In conclusion, this method can be used as a “snapshot” to directly monitor the effects of different culture conditions and treatments on translation in recombinant host cells. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29:1043–1049, 2013