A chemically defined nutrient feed (CDF) coupled with basal medium preloading was developed to replace a hydrolysate-containing feed (HCF) for a fed-batch NS0 process. The CDF not only enabled a completely chemically defined process but also increased recombinant monoclonal antibody titer by 115%. Subsequent tests of CDF in a CHO process indicated that it could also replace the hydrolysate-containing nutrient feed in this expression system as well as providing an 80% increase in product titer. In both CDF NS0 and CHO processes, the peak lactate concentrations were lower and, more interestingly, lactate metabolism shifted markedly from net production to net consumption when cells transitioned from exponential to stationary growth phase. Subsequent investigations of the lactate metabolic shift in the CHO CDF process were carried out to identify the cause(s) of the metabolic shift. These investigations revealed several metabolic features of the CHO cell line that we studied. First, glucose consumption and lactate consumption are strictly complementary to each other. The combined cell specific glucose and lactate consumption rate was a constant across exponential and stationary growth phases. Second, Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity fluctuated during the fed-batch process. LDH activity was at the lowest when lactate concentration started to decrease. Third, a steep cross plasma membrane glucose gradient exists. Intracellular glucose concentration was more than two orders of magnitude lower than that in the medium. Fourth, a large quantity of citrate was diverted out of mitochondria to the medium, suggesting a partially truncated tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle in CHO cells. Finally, other intermediates in or linked to the glycolytic pathway and the TCA cycle, which include alanine, citrate, isocitrate, and succinate, demonstrated a metabolic shift similar to that of lactate. Interestingly, all these metabolites are either in or linked to the pathway downstream of pyruvate, but upstream of fumarate in glucose metabolism. Although the specific mechanisms for the metabolic shift of lactate and other metabolites remain to be elucidated, the increased understanding of the metabolism of CHO cultures could lead to future improvements in medium and process development. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2009
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