Temperature Down‐Shift Modifies Expression of UPR‐/ERAD‐Related Genes and Enhances Production of a Chimeric Fusion Protein in CHO Cells

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  • Authors:
  • Mauro Torres Sebastian
  • Alan Dickson
  • Edward Mckenzie
  • Samia Akhtar


Low culture temperature enhances the cell‐specific productivity of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells expressing varied recombinant (r‐) proteins, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Regulation of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway genes, such as transcriptional regulatory factors and endoplasmic reticulum (ER)‐resident proteins, appear to be involved in the improvements of r‐protein production under low temperature conditions. The transcriptional regulation of UPR‐specific targets is studied in response to decreased culture temperature in relation to production of a difficult‐to‐express protein. A clonally‐derived CHO cell line expressing a chimeric fusion protein (human erythropoietin [hEPO] linked to a murine Fc region, hEPO‐Fc) is evaluated in terms of growth, metabolism, r‐protein production and UPR‐/ER associated degradation (ERAD)‐specific gene expression at standard (37 °C) and low (32 °C) temperature in batch and fed‐batch systems. Low temperature decreased peak cell density, improved viability, generated cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase and enhanced hEPO‐Fc expression in both batch and fed‐batch cultures. A low culture temperature significantly upregulated genes encoding UPR‐specific transcriptional activators (xbp1s, ddit3, and atf5) and ER‐resident proteins (grp78, grp94, trib3, and ero1α), that are associated with folding and processing of proteins within the ER. Further, low culture temperature decreased expression of genes involved in ERAD (edem3, sels, herpud1, and syvn1) indicating a decreased potential for protein degradation.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2000081
JournalBiotechnology journal
Early online date9 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2020