Culture conditions that affect product quality are important to the successful operation and optimization of bioreactors. Previous studies have demonstrated that enzymes, such as proteases and sialidases, accumulate in batch bioreactors. These enzymes are known to be detrimental to the quality of recombinant glycoproteins. Bioreactor temperature has been used to control cell growth and recombinant protein production rates. However, the effect of culture temperature on the production of proteases and sialidases has not been investigated. In this study, Chinese hamster ovary cells were cultured with a temperature profile that decreased from 37 to 34 °C over 8 days and with a constant temperature of 37 °C. Analysis of extracellular protease activity indicated that two major proteases were present (50 and 69 kDa). The 50 kDa protease activity decreased similarly with time for both culture conditions. The 69 kDa protease activity increased with time for both culture conditions. The constant-temperature cultures had significantly lower 69 kDa protease levels compared to the ramped-temperature cultures in the early stationary phase. Intracellular sialidase activity was present in both cultures. The intracellular sialidase activity increased dramatically for both culture conditions immediately after the cells were inoculated into fresh medium. The initial peak in intracellular sialidase activity was followed by a first-order decay. The intracellular sialidase activities for the two culture conditions were not significantly different. The production of recombinant tissue type plasminogen activator was not significantly different for the two culture conditions. Thus, the previously hypothesized advantages that lower culture temperatures have reduced protease activity and improved productivity do not appear to be universal.
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