Researchers publish paper on CHO-K1 cell genome sequencing

Aug 05, 2011 By Laura Crozier
An image of CHO-K1

The Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell is one of the most preferred hosts used to manufacture therapeutic proteins -- genes that are added to "cell factories" to produce proteins that are later turned into medicines. 

Protein therapeutics need a clean and controlled environment to grow in, and the CHO cell, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, provides this. In addition, CHO cells are able to produce complex, human-like proteins for the treatment of disease. But what has eluded scientists until now is precisely how and why the CHO cell behaves as it does. 

“Scientists are constantly working on ways to make as much of a protein in a host cell as possible, in the best, safest, and the most economical way possible,” says Kelvin Lee, director of the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and Gore Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

The growth and behavior of the host cell can affect the protein being made, so figuring out how cells work at the genetic level will allow scientists to better manufacture these medicines to treat a wide range of human diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. 

The father of all CHO cells, CHO-K1, has been sequenced and analyzed by a team of domestic and international partners including UD, Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, BGI-Shenzhen, GT Life Sciences, and many more.

“Knowing the complete sequence of a genome shows us all the capabilities and limitations of a cell. It helps us understand metabolism and protein production pathways of cells, amongst other important factors,” says Stephanie Hammond, postdoctoral fellow in UD's Department of Chemical Engineering. “We now have a foundation for understanding how the cell works.”

In a paper published in the journal Nature Biotechnology on July 31, Lee and collaborators discuss the first ever genome sequencing of the CHO-K1 cell, providing the groundwork for further investigation into the cell’s behavior. The portion of the research done at UD was funded in part by the University, as well as the Delaware IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) grant from the National Institutes of Health. The data collection was performed at the UD Sequencing and Genotyping Core Facility run by Bruce Kingham.

Now that a baseline for the CHO-K1 genome has been established, Lee and colleagues felt it was important to maximize the impact and dissemination of this data. Toward this end, UD scientists and collaborators from Johns Hopkins, BOKU University in Vienna, and a number of industrial partners and government agencies will establish an online database at UD to allow the international biotechnology community to store and update information about CHO cells. 

By taking a cue from social networking sites, academic, industrial and government scientists will be able to participate in ongoing efforts to improve gene annotations, contribute new data and foster new collaborations. 

“There is a $77 billion global market for protein therapeutics, and 70 percent of them are made in CHO ,” says Lee. “This kind of collaboration and exploration will translate into better manufactured medicines that are affordable, while simultaneously stimulating economic growth. We’re excited to be a part of this effort and particularly excited that many biotechnology companies have agreed to support the CHOgenome.org website.”

Explore further: Being sheepish about climate adaptation

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chemists get grip on slippery lipids

Aug 30, 2007

The ability of the body's cells to correctly receive and convey signals is crucial to good health. Lipids, or fats, play a critical role in this regulation by providing spaces for proteins to gather and network. They are ...

How culprit Alzheimer's protein wreaks havoc

Mar 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- How the toxic protein, amyloid, sets off a chain of events that leads to brain cell death during Alzheimer's disease is described in new detail in a study from the University of Bristol published ...

Study pries into ovarian cancer's deadly secrets

Apr 11, 2007

A new University of Michigan Medical School study sheds light on cell defects that lead to one common type of ovarian cancer and puts forth a promising new mouse model that already is being used for preclinical drug testing.

Recommended for you

Being sheepish about climate adaptation

1 hour ago

For thousands of years, man has domesticated animals, selecting the best traits possible for survival. Now, livestock such as sheep offer an intriguing animal to examine adaptation to climate change, with a genetic legacy ...

Turning winery waste into biofuels

13 hours ago

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have developed a technique for converting winery waste into compounds that could have potential value as biofuels or medicines.

User comments : 0