Many protein-based biotherapeutics are produced in cultured Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines. Recent reports have demonstrated that translation of recombinant mRNAs and global control of the translation machinery via mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling are important determinants of the amount and quality of recombinant protein such cells can produce. mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) is a master regulator of cell growth/division, ribosome biogenesis and protein synthesis, but the relationship between mTORC1 signalling, cell growth and proliferation and recombinant protein yields from mammalian cells, and whether this master regulating signalling pathway can be manipulated to enhance cell biomass and recombinant protein production (rPP) are not well explored. We have investigated mTORC1 signalling and activity throughout batch culture of a panel of sister recombinant GS-CHO cell lines expressing different amounts of a model monoclonal IgG4, to evaluate the links between mTORC1 signalling and cell proliferation, autophagy, recombinant protein expression, global protein synthesis and mRNA translation initiation. We find that the expression of the mTORC1 substrate 4E-BP1 fluctuates throughout the course of cell culture and, as expected, that the 4E-BP1 phosphorylation profiles change across the culture. Importantly, we find that the eIF4E/4E-BP1 stoichiometry positively correlates with cell productivity. Further, eIF4E amounts appear to be co-regulated with 4E-BP1 amounts. This may reflect a sensing of either change at the mRNA level as opposed to the protein level or the fact that the phosphorylation status as well as the amount of 4E-BP1 present is important in the co-regulation of eIF4E with 4E-BP1.
- mechanistic target of rapamycin
- recombinant proteins
- mRNA translation
- Chinese hamster ovary cells
- monoclonal antibodies
- ©2016 The Author(s)
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