MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in global gene regulation. Researchers in recombinant protein production have proposed miRNAs as biomarkers and cell engineering targets. However, miRNA expression remains understudied in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, one of the most commonly used host cell systems for therapeutic protein production. To profile highly conserved miRNA expression, we used the miRCURY™ miRNA array for screening miRNAs in CHO cells. The selection criteria for further miRNA profiling included positive hybridization signals and experimentally validated predicted regulatory targets. On the basis of screening, we selected 16 miRNAs for quantitative RT-PCR profiling. We profiled miR expression in parental CHO DG44 and CHO K1 cell lines as well as four recombinant DG44-derived CHO lines producing a recombinant human IgG. We observed that miR-221 and miR-222 were significantly downregulated in all IgG-producing cell lines when compared with parental DG44, whereas miR-125b was significantly downregulated in one IgG-producing line. In another IgG-producing line, miR-19a was significantly upregulated. miRNA expression was also profiled in two of these lines that were amplified by stepwise increase of methotrexate. In both amplified cell lines, let-7b and miR-221 were significantly downregulated. In parental CHO K1, let-7b, miR-15b, and miR-17 were significantly downregulated when compared with DG44. The results reported here are the first steps toward profiling highly conserved miRNAs and studying the clonal difference in miRNA expression in CHO cells and may shed light on using miRNAs in cell engineering. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 2011
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