Enhanced green fluorescence protein (GFP) and erythropoietin (EPO) were used as reporters to assess and improve transient gene expression in HEK 293 EBNA1 cells. The production of EPO only lasted 3 days and reached 18.1 mg/l in suspension cultures in 1 l batch bioreactors. However, GFP expression examined in well-plate experiments persisted for 12 days in transfected cells but decreased rapidly within the next 15 days. These results suggest that the retaining of a plasmid in cells may not be a limiting factor for protein expression in large-scale transient transfection. To improve cell maintenance and protein expression, a fed-batch culture was performed using an enriched medium, a mixture of equal volumes of 293 SFM II medium and a 5 × amino acid solution prepared based on DMEM/F12 medium formula. EPO reached 33.6 mg/l, representing 86% increase over that of the batch culture. Moreover, the total amount of EPO produced was increased by 165% in view of the volume increase in the fed-batch culture. The serum-free medium used in this work enables cells growing well and transfection without medium change. Thus, the process reported here is simple and easy to scale up.
- HEK 293 EBNA1 cells
- Transient gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology