Multicopy Targeted Integration for Accelerated Development of High-Producing Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells

Daria Sergeeva, Gyun Min Lee, Lars Keld Nielsen, Lise Marie Grav*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The ever-growing biopharmaceutical industry relies on the production of recombinant therapeutic proteins in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. The traditional timelines of CHO cell line development can be significantly shortened by the use of targeted gene integration (TI). However, broad use of TI has been limited due to the low specific productivity (qP) of TI-generated clones. Here, we show a 10-fold increase in the qP of therapeutic glycoproteins in CHO cells through the development and optimization of a multicopy TI method. We used a recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) platform to investigate the effect of gene copy number, 5' and 3' gene regulatory elements, and landing pad features on qP. We evaluated the limitations of multicopy expression from a single genomic site as well as multiple genomic sites and found that a transcriptional bottleneck can appear with an increase in gene dosage. We created a dual-RMCE system for simultaneous multicopy TI in two genomic sites and generated isogenic high-producing clones with qP of 12-14 pg/cell/day and product titer close to 1 g/L in fed-batch. Our study provides an extensive characterization of the multicopy TI method and elucidates the relationship between gene copy number and protein expression in mammalian cells. Moreover, it demonstrates that TI-generated CHO cells are capable of producing therapeutic proteins at levels that can support their industrial manufacture.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)2546-2561
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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