Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the primary host for manufacturing of therapeutic proteins. However, productivity loss is a major problem and is associated with genome instability, as chromosomal aberrations reduce transgene copy number and decrease protein expression. We analyzed whole-genome sequencing data from 11 CHO cell lines and found deleterious single-nucleotide variants in DNA repair genes. Comparison with primary Chinese hamster cells confirmed DNA repair to be compromised in CHO. Correction of key DNA repair genes by single-nucleotide variant reversal or expression of intact complementary DNAs successfully improved DNA repair and mitigated karyotypic instability. Moreover, overexpression of intact copies of LIG4 and XRCC6 in a CHO cell line expressing secreted alkaline phosphatase mitigated transgene copy loss and improved protein titer retention. These results show that correction of DNA repair genes yields improvements in genome stability in CHO, and provide new opportunities for cell line development for sustainable protein expression.
- DNA repair
- cell line instability
- protein expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology