Insect High Five™ cell line development using site-specific flipase recombination technology
G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics ; doi:10.1093/g3journal/jkab166
Abstract: Insect Trichoplusia ni High Five™ (Hi5) cells have been widely explored for production of heterologous proteins, traditionally mostly using the lytic baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS), and more recently using virus-free transient gene expression systems. Stable expression in such host cells would circumvent the drawbacks associated with both systems when it comes to scale-up and implementation of more efficient high-cell density process modes for the manufacturing of biologics. In this study, we combined Flipase (Flp) recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) with fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) for generating a stable master clonal Hi5 cell line with the flexibility to express single or multiple proteins of interest from a tagged genomic locus. The 3-step protocol herein implemented consisted of (i) introducing the RMCE docking cassette into the cell genome by random integration followed by selection in Hygromycin B and FACS (Hi5-tagging population), (ii) eliminating cells tagged in loci with low recombination efficiency by transfecting the tagging population with an eGFP-containing target cassette followed by selection in G418 and FACS (Hi5-RMCE population), and (iii) isolation of pure eGFP-expressing cells by FACS and expansion to suspension cultures (Hi5-RMCE master clone). Exchangeability of the locus in the master clone was demonstrated in small-scale suspension cultures by replacing the target cassette by one containing a single protein (i.e., iCherry, as an intracellular protein model) or two proteins (i.e., influenza HA and M1 for virus-like particles production, as an extracellular protein model). Overall, the stable insect Hi5 cell platform herein assembled has the potential to assist and accelerate biologics development.
Keywords: stable expression / insect Hi5 cells / RMCE / FACS / influenza VLPs
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