The actinomycete Lentzea aerocolonigenes produces the antitumor antibiotic rebeccamycin. In previous studies the rebeccamycin production was significantly increased by the addition of glass beads during cultivation in different diameters between 0.5 – 2 mm and the induced mechanical stress by the glass beads was proposed to be responsible for the increased production. Thus, this study was conducted to be a systematic investigation of different parameters for macroparticle addition, such as bead diameter, concentration and density (glass and ceramic) as well as shaking frequency, for a better understanding of the particle induced stress on L. aerocolonigenes. The induced stress for optimal rebeccamycin production can be estimated by a combination of stress energy and stress frequency. In addition, the macroparticle-enhanced cultivation of L. aerocolonigenes was combined with soy lecithin addition to further increase the rebeccamycin concentration. With 100 g L-1 glass beads in a diameter of 969 µm and 5 g L-1 soy lecithin a concentration of 388 mg L 1 rebeccamycin was reached after 10 days of cultivation, which corresponds to the highest rebeccamycin concentrations achieved in shake flask cultivations of L. aerocolonigenes stated in literature so far.
Serology testing for COVID-19 is important in evaluating active immune response against SARS-CoV-2, studying the antibody kinetics, and monitoring reinfections with genetic variants and new virus strains, in particular, the duration of antibodies in virus-exposed individuals and vaccine-mediated immunity. In this work, recombinant S protein of SARS-CoV-2 was expressed in Rachiplusia nu, an important agronomic plague. One gram of insect larvae produces an amount of S protein sufficient for 150 determinations in the ELISA method herein developed. We established a rapid production process for SARS-CoV-2 S protein that showed immunoreactivity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and was used as a single antigen for developing the ELISA method with high sensitivity (96.2%) and specificity (98.8%). Our findings provide an efficient and cost-effective platform for large-scale S protein production, and the scale-up is linear, thus avoiding the use of complex equipment like bioreactors.
Microfluidic impedance cytometry is a powerful system to measure micro and nano-sized particles and is routinely used in point-of-care settings disease diagnostics and other biomedical applications. However, small objects near a sensor’s detection limit are plagued with relatively significant background noise and are difficult to identify for every case. While many data processing techniques can be utilized to reduce noise and improve signal quality, frequently they are still inadequate to push sensor detection limits. Here, we report the first demonstration of a novel signal averaging algorithm effective in noise reduction of microfluidic impedance cytometry data, improving enumeration accuracy and reducing detection limits. Our device uses a 22 μm tall microchannel and gold coplanar microelectrodes that generates an electric field, recording bipolar pulses from polystyrene microparticles flowing through the channel. In addition to outlining a modified moving signal averaging technique theoretically and with a model dataset, we also performed a compendium of characterization experiments including variations in flow rate, input voltage, and particle size. Multi-variate metrics from each experiment are compared including signal amplitude, pulse width, background noise, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Incorporating our technique resulted in improved SNR and counting accuracy across all experiments conducted, and the limit of detection improved from 5 μm to 1 μm particles without modifying microchannel dimensions. Succeeding this, we envision implementing our modified moving average technique to develop next generation microfluidic impedance cytometry devices with an expanded dynamic range and improved enumeration accuracy. This can be exceedingly useful for many biomedical applications, such as infectious disease diagnostics where devices may enumerate larger-scale immune cells alongside sub-micron bacterium in the same sample.
Recent advances in cell-free protein synthesis have enabled the folding and assembly of full-length antibodies at high titers with extracts from prokaryotic cells. Coupled with the facile engineering of the E. coli translation machinery, E. coli based in vitro protein synthesis reactions have emerged as a leading source of IgG molecules with non-natural amino acids incorporated at specific locations for producing homogeneous antibody drug conjugates. While this has been demonstrated with extract produced in batch fermentation mode, continuous extract fermentation would facilitate supplying material for large-scale manufacturing of protein therapeutics. To accomplish this, the IgG-folding chaperones DsbC and FkpA, and orthogonal tRNA for non-natural amino acid production were integrated onto the chromosome with high strength constitutive promoters. This enabled co-expression of all three factors at a consistently high level in the extract strain for the duration of a five-day continuous fermentation. Cell-free protein synthesis reactions with extract produced from cells grown continuously yielded titers of IgG containing non-natural amino acids above those from extract produced in batch fermentations. In addition, the quality of the synthesized IgGs and the potency of ADC produced with continuously fermented extract were indistinguishable from those produced with batch extract. These experiments demonstrate that continuous fermentation of E. coli to produce extract for cell-free protein synthesis is feasible and helps unlock the potential for cell-free protein synthesis as a platform for biopharmaceutical production.
The realization of the enormous potential of stem cells requires development of efficient bioprocesses and optimization drawing drawn from mechanobiological considerations. Here, we emphasize the importance of mechanotransduction as one of the governing principles of stem cell bioprocesses, underscoring the need to further explore the behavioral mechanisms involved in sensing mechanical cues and coordinating transcriptional responses. We identify the sources of the intrinsic, extrinsic, and external noise in bioprocess under uncertainty, and discuss criteria and indicators that might assess and predict cell-to-cell variability resulting from environmental fluctuations. Specifically, we propose a conceptual framework to explain the impact of mechanical forces within cellular environment and identify key cell state determinants in bioprocess and discuss their implementation challenges.
In this work, we applied online chlorophyll a fluorescence measurements to monitor the changes in the photochemical parameters both in nitrate-deplete and nitrate-replete cultures of Nannochloropsis oceanica, in addition to biochemical parameters such as growth, lipid, fatty acid, and pigment contents. Under nitrate-replete conditions, growth was promoted along with pigment content, while total lipid content and fatty acid saturation level diminished. Under nitrate-deplete conditions, cultures showed an increased de-epoxidation state of the xanthophyll cycle pigments. Fast transients revealed a poor processing efficiency for electron transfer beyond QA, which was in line with the low electron transport rate due to nitrate depletion. Lipid content and the de-epoxidation state were the first biochemical parameters triggered by the change in nutrient status, which coincided with a 20% drop in the online effective quantum yield of PSII (ΔF/Fm’), and a raise in the Vj measurements. A good correlation was found between the changes in ΔF/Fm’ and lipid content (r=-0.96, p<0.01). The results confirm the reliability and applicability of online fluorescence measurements to monitor lipid induction in N. oceanica.
Molecular diagnosis is an essential means to detect pathogens. The portable nucleic acid detection chip has excellent prospects in places where medical resources are scarce, and it is also of research interest in the field of microfluidic chips. Here, the paper developed a new type of microfluidic chip for nucleic acid detection where stretching acts as the driving force. The sample entered the chip by applying capillary force. The strain valve was opened under the action of tensile force, and the spring pump generated the power to drive the fluid to flow to the detection chamber in a specific direction. The detection of COVID-19 was realized on the chip. The RT-LAMP amplification system was adopted to observe the liquid color in the detection chamber to decide whether the sample tested positive or negative qualitatively.
Adoptive cell immunotherapy with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell has brought a revolutionary means of treatment for aggressive diseases such as hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. Over the last decade, FDA approved three types of CAR-T cells against CD19 hematologic malignancies, including Tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah), Axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta), and Brexucabtagene autoleucel (Tecartus). Despite outstanding results gained from different clinical trials, CAR-T cell therapy is not free from side effects and toxicities, and needs careful investigations and improvements. Gene-editing technology, clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/ CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system has emerged as a promising tool to address some of the CAR-T therapy hurdles. Using CRISPR/Cas9 technology, CAR expression as well as other cellular pathways can be modified in various ways to enhance CAR-T cell’s anti-tumor function and persistence in immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. CRISPR/Cas9 technology can also be utilized to reduce CAR-T cells toxicity and side effects. Hereby, we discuss the practical challenges and hurdles related to the accuracy, efficiency, efficacy, safety and delivery of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to the genetically engineered-T cells. Combining of these two state-of-the-art technologies, CRISPR/Cas9 and CAR-T cells, the field of oncology has an extraordinary opportunity to enter a new era of immunotherapy, which offers novel therapeutic options for different types of tumors.
Since 2014, an Asian lineage of Zika virus has caused outbreaks, and it has been associated with neurological disorders in adults and congenital defects in newborns. The resulting threat of the Zika virus to human health has prompted the development of new vaccines, which have yet to be approved for human use. Vaccines based on the attenuated or chemically inactivated virus will require large-scale production of the intact virus to meet potential global demands. Intact viruses are produced by infecting cultures of susceptible cells, a dynamic process that spans from hours to days and has yet to be optimized. Here, we infected Vero cells adhesively cultured in well-plates with two Zika virus strains: a recently isolated strain from the Asian lineage, and a cell-culture-adapted strain from the African lineage. At different time points post-infection, virus particles in the supernatant were quantified; further, microscopy images were used to quantify cell density and the proportion of cells expressing viral protein. These measurements were performed across multiple replicate samples of one-step infections every four hours over 60 hours and for multi-step infections every four to 24 hours over 144 hours, generating a rich dataset. For each set of data, mathematical models were developed to estimate parameters associated with cell infection and virus production. The African-lineage strain was found to produce a 14-fold higher yield than the Asian-lineage strain in one-step growth and a 7-fold higher titer in multi-step growth, suggesting a benefit of cell-culture adaptation for developing a vaccine strain. We found that image-based measurements were critical for discriminating among different models, and different parameters for the two strains could account for the experimentally observed differences. An exponential-distributed delay model performed best in accounting for multi-step infection of the Asian strain, and it highlighted the significant sensitivity of virus titer to the rate of viral degradation, with implications for optimization of vaccine production. More broadly, this work highlights how image-based measurements can contribute to discrimination of virus-culture models for the optimal production of inactivated and attenuated whole-virus vaccines.
The most effective way to prevent and control infectious disease outbreak is through vaccines. The increasing use of vaccines has elevated the need to establish new manufacturing strategies. One of the major approaches is cell-based production, which creates a need for high cell density to enable higher cell production levels. This has led to development of the technology of cell carriers, including micro and macro cell carriers. To follow the production process, quantifying the number of cells on these carriers is required, as well as the tracking of their viability and proliferation. However, owing to various carriers’ unique structures, tracking the cell’s is challenging using current traditional assays that were originally developed for monolayers of adherent cells. The current “gold standard” method is counting cell nuclei, separating cells from the carrier, staining with crystal violet and visually counting under a microscope. This method is tedious and counts both live and dead cells. A few other techniques were developed but were specific to the carrier type and involved specialized equipment. In this study, we describe a broadly ranging method for counting cells on carriers that was developed and employed as part of the production of a vaccine for use in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The method is based on the Alamar blue dye, a well-known, common marker for cell activity, and was found to be successful in tracking cell adsorption, cell growth and viability on carriers. No separation of the cells from the carriers is needed, nor is any specialized equipment; the method is simple and rapid, and provides comprehensive details necessary for process control of viral vaccine production in cells. This method can be easily implemented in any of a number of cell-based processes and other unique platforms for measuring growth of encapsulated cells.
Luminescence, a physical phenomenon that producing cool light in vivo, has been found in bacteria, fungi and anminals but not yet in terrestrial higher plants. Through genetic engineering, it is feasible to introduce luminescence system into living plant cells as biomarkers. Recently, some plants transformed with luminescent systems can glimmer in darkness, which can be observed by our naked eyes and provide a novel lighting resource. In this review, we summarized the development of luminescence in plant cells, followed by exampling the successful cases of glowing plants transformed with diverse luminescent systems. The potential key factors to optimize a glowing plant are also discussed. Our review is useful for the creation of the optimized glowing plants, which can be used not only in scientific research, but also as promising substitutes of artificial light sources in the future.
By integrating continuous cell cultures with continuous purification methods, process yields and product quality attributes were improved over the last 10 years for recombinant protein production. However, for the production of viral vectors such as Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), no such studies have been reported although there is an increasing need to meet the requirements for a rising number of clinical trials against infectious or neoplastic diseases. Here, we present for the first time a scalable suspension cell (AGE1.CR.pIX cells) culture-based perfusion process in bioreactors integrating continuous virus harvesting through an acoustic settler with semi-continuous chromatographic purification. This allowed to obtain purified MVA particles with a space-time yield >600% higher for the integrated perfusion process (1.05 x 1011 TCID50/Lbioreactor/day) compared to the integrated batch process. Without further optimization, purification by membrane-based steric exclusion chromatography resulted in an overall product recovery of 50.5%. To decrease the level of host cell DNA prior to chromatography, a novel inline continuous DNA digestion step was integrated into the process train. A detailed cost analysis comparing integrated production in batch versus production in perfusion mode showed that the cost per dose for MVA was reduced by nearly one third using this intensified small-scale process.
Predicting the fate of a microbial population (i.e., growth, gene expression…) remains a challenge, especially when this population is exposed to very dynamic environmental conditions, such as those encountered during continuous cultivation. Indeed, the dynamic nature of continuous cultivation process implies the potential deviation of the microbial population involving genotypic and phenotypic diversification. This work has been focused on the induction of the arabinose operon in Escherichia coli as a model system. As a preliminary step, the GFP level triggered by an arabinose-inducible ParaBAD promoter has been tracked by flow cytometry in chemostat with glucose-arabinose co-feeding. For a large range of glucose-arabinose co-feeding, the simultaneous occurrence of GFP positive and negative subpopulation was observed. In a second set of experiments, continuous cultivation was performed by adding either glucose or arabinose, based on the ability of individual cells for switching from low GFP to high GFP states, according to a technology called segregostat. In segregostat mode of cultivation, on-line flow cytometry analysis was used for adjusting the arabinose/glucose transitions based on the phenotypic switching capabilities of the microbial population. This strategy allowed finding an appropriate arabinose pulsing frequency, leading to a prolonged maintenance of the induction level with limited impact on phenotypic diversity for more than 60 generations. This result suggests that constraining individual cells into a given phenotypic trajectory is maybe not the best strategy for directing cell population. Instead, allowing individual cells switching around a predefined threshold seems to be a robust strategy leading to oscillating, but predictable, cell population behavior.
Commercial production of therapeutic proteins using mammalian cells requires complex process solutions, and consistency of these process solutions is critical to maintaining product titer and quality between batches. Inconsistencies between process solutions prepared at bench and commercial scale may be due to differences in mixing time, temperature, and pH which can lead to precipitation and subsequent removal via filtration of critical solution components such as trace metals. Pourbaix diagrams provide a useful tool to model the solubility of trace metals and were applied to troubleshoot the scale-up of nutrient feed preparation after inconsistencies in product titer were observed between bench- and manufacturing-scale batches. Pourbaix diagrams modeled the solubility of key metals in solution at various stages of the nutrient feed preparation and identified copper precipitation as the likely root cause of inconsistent media stability at commercial scale. Copper precipitation increased proportionally with temperature in bench-scale preparations of nutrient feed and temperature was identified as the root cause of copper precipitation at the commercial scale. Additionally, cell culture copper titration studies performed in bench-scale bioreactors linked copper-deficient mammalian cell culture to inconsistent titers at the commercial scale. Pourbaix diagrams can predict when trace metals are at risk of precipitating and can be used to mitigate risk during the scale-up of complex media preparations.
Enzymatic detachment of cells might damage important features of cells and could affect subsequent function of cells in various applications. Therefore, non-enzymatic cell detachment using thermosensitive polymer matrix is necessary for maintaining cell quality after harvesting. In this study, we synthesized thermosensitive PNIPAm-co-AAc-b-PS and PNIPAm-co-AAm-b-PS copolymers and LCST was tuned near to body temperature. Then, polymer solutions (5% w/v, 10% w/v, and 20% w/v) were spin coated to prepare films for cell adhesion and thermal-induced cell detachment. The apha-step analysis and SEM image of the films suggested that the thickness of the films depends on the molecular weight and concentration which ranged from 206 nm to 1330 nm for PNIPAm-co-AAc-b-PS and 97.5 nm to 497 nm for PNIPAm-co-AAm-b-PS. The contact angles of the films verified that the polymer surface was moderately hydrophilic at 37°C. From cell attachment and detachment studies, RAW264.7 cells, were convincingly proliferated on the films to a confluent of >80 % within 48 days. However, relatively more cells were grown on PNIPAm-co-AAm-b-PS (5%w/v) films and thermal-induced cell detachment was more abundant in this formulation. As a result, commercial cytodex 3 microcarrier was coated with PNIPAm-co-AAm-b-PS (5%w/v) and interestingly enhanced cell detachment with preserved potential of recovery was observed at low temperature during 3D culturing. Thus, surface modification of microcarriers with PNIPAm-co-AAm-b-PS could be vital strategy for non-enzymatic cell dissociation and able to achieve adequate number of cells with maximum cell viability, and functionality for various cell-based applications. Keywords: surface coated microcarriers; thermosensitive polymer; non-enzymatic cell detachment
Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans are acidophilic chemolithoautotrophs that are commonly reported to exhibit diauxic population growth behavior where ferrous iron is oxidized before elemental sulfur when both are available, despite the higher energy content of sulfur. We have discovered sulfur dispersion formulations that enables sulfur oxidation before ferrous iron oxidation. The oxidation of dispersed sulfur can lower the culture pH within days below the range where aerobic ferrous iron oxidation can occur so that ferric iron reduction occurs which had previously been reported over extended incubation periods with untreated sulfur. Therefore, we demonstrate that this substrate utilization pattern is strongly dependent on the cell loading in relation to sulfur concentration, sulfur surface hydrophobicity, and the pH of the culture. Our dispersed sulfur formulation, lig-sulfur, can be used to support the rapid antibiotic selection of plasmid-transformed cells, which is not possible in liquid cultures where ferrous iron is the main source of energy for these acidophiles. Furthermore, we find that media containing lig-sulfur supports higher production of green fluorescent protein (GFP) compared to media containing ferrous iron. The use of dispersed sulfur is a valuable new tool for the development of engineered A. ferrooxidans strains and it provides a new method to control iron and sulfur oxidation behaviors.
A robust monoclonal antibody (mAb) bioprocess requires physiological parameters such as temperature, pH, or dissolved oxygen (DO) to be well-controlled as even small variations in them could potentially impact the final product quality. For instance, pH substantially affects N-glycosylation, protein aggregation and charge variant profiles, as well as mAb productivity. However, relatively less is known about how pH jointly influences product quality and titer. In this study, we investigated the effect of pH on culture performance, product titer and quality profiles by applying longitudinal multi-omics profiling, including transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and glycomics, at three different culture pH set points. The subsequent systematic analysis of multi-omics data showed that pH set points differentially regulated various intracellular pathways including intracellular vesicular trafficking, cell cycle, and apoptosis, thereby resulting in differences in specific productivity, product titer and quality profiles. In addition, a time-dependent variation in mAb N-glycosylation profiles, independent of pH was identified to be mainly due to the accumulation of mAb proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) over culture time, disrupting cellular homeostasis. Overall, this multi-omics-based study provides an in-depth understanding of the intracellular processes in mAb-producing CHO cell line under varied pH conditions and could serve as a baseline for enabling the quality optimization and control of mAb production.
Seasonal influenza infection waves occur both in northern and southern hemispheres every year. Despite the differences in influenza virus surface antigens and virulence of seasonal subtypes, manufacturers are well-adapted to respond to this periodical vaccine demand. Due to decades of influenza virus research, the development of new influenza vaccines is relatively straight-forward. Nevertheless, compared to the recent Covid-19 pandemic where a vaccine is not yet available, influenza vaccine manufacturing would be a major bottleneck for the rapid supply of billions of doses required worldwide. In particular, egg-based vaccine production would be difficult to schedule and shortages of other egg-based vaccines with high demands also have to be anticipated. Cell culture-based production systems enable manufacturing of large amounts of vaccines within a short time frame and expand significantly our options to respond to pandemics and emerging viral diseases. In this work, we present an integrated process for the production of inactivated influenza A virus vaccines based on a MDCK suspension cell line cultivated in a chemically defined medium. Very high titers of 3.6 log10(HAU/100 µL) were achieved using fast growing MDCK cells at concentrations up to 9.5 × 106 cells/mL infected with influenza A/PR/8/34 H1N1 virus in 1 L stirred tank bioreactors. A combination of two membrane-based chromatography steps enabled full recovery for the virus capture and up to 80 % recovery for the virus polishing step, respectively. Purified virus particles showed a homogenous size distribution around a mean diameter of 80 nm. Based on a monovalent dose of 15 µg hemagglutinin (SRID assay), the level of total protein was 58 µg and the level of host cell DNA contamination was below 10 ng. Furthermore, all process steps can be fully scaled up to industrial quantities for commercial manufacturing of either seasonal or pandemic influenza virus vaccines. Fast production of up to 300 vaccine doses per liter within 4 to 5 days makes this process competitive not only to other cell-based processes, but to egg-based processes as well.