Changes in Chromosome Counts and Patterns in CHO Cell Lines upon Generation of Recombinant Cell Lines and Subcloning.
Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the number one production system for therapeutic proteins. A pre-requirement for their use in industrial production of biopharmaceuticals is to be clonal, thus originating from a single cell in order to be phenotypically and genomically identical. In the present study it was evaluated whether standard procedures, such as the generation of a recombinant cell line in combination with selection for a specific and stable phenotype (expression of the recombinant product) or subcloning have any impact on karyotype stability or homogeneity in CHO cells. Analyses used were the distribution of chromosome counts per cell as well as chromosome painting to identify specific karyotype patterns within a population. Results indicate that subclones both of the host and the recombinant cell line are of comparable heterogeneity and (in)stability as the original pool. In contrast, the rigorous selection for a stably expressing phenotype generated cell lines with fewer variation and more stable karyotypes, both at the level of the sorted pool and derivative subclones. We conclude that the process of subcloning itself does not contribute to an improved karyotypic homogeneity of a population, while the selection for a specific cell property inherently can provide evolutionary pressure that may lead to improved chromosomal stability as well as to a more homogenous population.