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Crop Biotech Update

Enhancing Recombinant Protein Production of CHO Cells through Over-expression of miR-17

April 16, 2014

Recombinant production of therapeutic proteins plays an important role in advanced medical care and most of these proteins are produced from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Several successful genetic engineering approaches have been done to enhance CHO cell performance in terms of protein secretion and production. Aside from engineering the expression of protein-coding genes, microRNAs have recently emerged as a tool to modify the phenotype of CHO cells.

Micro-RNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding, RNA molecules that negatively regulate gene expression after transcription. In the study, researchers describe the effect of transient and stable miRNA over-expression on CHO cell phenotype. The growth and protein productivity of CHO cells engineered with three different miRNAs were studied. This was followed by analysis of cell pools with stable over-expression of these miRNAs. CHO cells with miR-17 exhibited both enhanced growth performance and a 2-fold increase in specific productivity.

While further studies on the interactions between microRNAs and messenger RNAs (mRNA) will be necessary to understand the molecular basis of this effect, these data provide valuable evidence for miR-17 as a cell engineering target to enhance CHO cell productivity.