While vectored vaccines, based on hyperattenuated viruses, may lead to new treatment options against infectious diseases and certain cancers, they are also complex products and sometimes difficult to provide in sufficient amount and purity. To facilitate vaccine programs utilizing host-restricted poxviruses, we established avian suspension cell lines (CR and CR.pIX) and developed a robust, chemically defined, culturing process for production of this class of vectors. For one prominent member, modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), we now describe a new strain that appears to replicate to greater yields of infectious units, especially in the cell-free supernatant of cultures in chemically defined media. The new strain was obtained by repeated passaging in CR suspension cultures and, consistent with reports on the exceptional genetic stability of MVA, sequencing of 135 kb of the viral genomic DNA revealed that only three structural proteins (A3L, A9L and A34R) each carry a single amino acid exchange (H639Y, K75E and D86Y, respectively). Host restriction in a plaque-purified isolate of the new genotype appears to be maintained in cell culture. Processing towards an injectable vaccine preparation may be simplified with this strain as a complete lysate, containing the main burden of host cell contaminants, may not be required anymore to obtain adequate yields.
modified vaccinia Ankara; MVA; vaccine; duck suspension cell line; AGE1.CR.pIX
Current influenza vaccines are trivalent or quadrivalent inactivated split or subunit vaccines administered intramuscularly, or live attenuated influenza vaccines (LAIV) adapted to replicate at temperatures below body temperature and administered intranasally. Both vaccines are considered safe and efficient, but due to differences in specific properties may complement each other to ensure reliable vaccine coverage. By now, licensed LAIV are produced in embryonated chicken eggs. In the near future influenza vaccines for human use will also be available from adherent MDCK or Vero cell cultures, but a scalable suspension process may facilitate production and supply with vaccines.
We evaluated the production of cold-adapted human influenza virus strains in the duck suspension cell line AGE1.CR.pIX using a chemically-defined medium. One cold-adapted A (H1N1) and one cold-adapted B virus strain was tested, as well as the reference strain A/PR/8/34 (H1N1). It is shown that a medium exchange is not required for infection and that maximum virus titers are obtained for 1 × 10-6 trypsin units per cell. 1 L bioreactor cultivations showed that 4 × 106 cells/mL can be infected without a cell density effect achieving titers of 1 × 108 virions/mL after 24 h.
Overall, this study demonstrates that AGE1.CR.pIX cells support replication of LAIV strains in a chemically-defined medium using a simple process without medium exchanges. Moreover, the process is fast with peak titers obtained 24 h post infection and easily scalable to industrial volumes as neither microcarriers nor medium replacements are required.
Live attenuated influenza virus; Influenza vaccine production; Suspension cell culture; Cell density effect; AGE1.CR.pIX
Fruit bats and insectivorous bats are believed to provide a natural reservoir for a wide variety of infectious diseases. Several lines of evidence, including the successful isolation of infectious viruses, indicate that Marburg virus and Ravn virus have found a major reservoir in colonies of the Egyptian rousette (Rousettus aegyptiacus). To facilitate molecular studies on virus-reservoir host interactions and isolation of viruses from environmental samples, we established cell lines from primary cells of this animal. The cell lines were given to several laboratories until we realized that a contamination with Vero cells in one of the cultures had occurred. Here we describe a general diagnostic procedure for identification of cross-species contamination with the focus on Vero and Rousettus cell lines, and summarize newly discovered properties of the cell lines that may pertain to pathogen discovery.
fruit bat cell line; R06E; R05T; Rousettus aegyptiacus
For the improved production of vaccines and therapeutic proteins, a detailed understanding of the metabolic dynamics during batch or fed-batch production is requested. To study the new human cell line AGE1.HN, a flexible metabolic flux analysis method was developed that is considering dynamic changes in growth and metabolism during cultivation. This method comprises analysis of formation of cellular components as well as conversion of major substrates and products, spline fitting of dynamic data and flux estimation using metabolite balancing. During batch cultivation of AGE1.HN three distinct phases were observed, an initial one with consumption of pyruvate and high glycolytic activity, a second characterized by a highly efficient metabolism with very little energy spilling waste production and a third with glutamine limitation and decreasing viability. Main events triggering changes in cellular metabolism were depletion of pyruvate and glutamine. Potential targets for the improvement identified from the analysis are (i) reduction of overflow metabolism in the beginning of cultivation, e.g. accomplished by reduction of pyruvate content in the medium and (ii) prolongation of phase 2 with its highly efficient energy metabolism applying e.g. specific feeding strategies. The method presented allows fast and reliable metabolic flux analysis during the development of producer cells and production processes from microtiter plate to large scale reactors with moderate analytical and computational effort. It seems well suited to guide media optimization and genetic engineering of producing cell lines.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00449-010-0502-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Growth phases; Cell culture; Kinetics; Production; Mammalian cell; Metabolic engineering
The fruit bat species Rousettus aegyptiacus was identified as a potential reservoir for the highly pathogenic filovirus Marburg virus. To establish a basis for a molecular understanding of the biology of filoviruses in the reservoir host, we have adapted a set of molecular tools for investigation of filovirus replication in a recently developed cell line, R06E, derived from the species Rousettus aegyptiacus.
Upon infection with Ebola or Marburg viruses, R06E cells produced viral titers comparable to VeroE6 cells, as shown by TCID50 analysis. Electron microscopic analysis of infected cells revealed morphological signs of filovirus infection as described for human- and monkey-derived cell lines. Using R06E cells, we detected an unusually high amount of intracellular viral proteins, which correlated with the accumulation of high numbers of filoviral nucleocapsids in the cytoplasm. We established protocols to produce Marburg infectious virus-like particles from R06E cells, which were then used to infect naïve target cells to investigate primary transcription. This was not possible with other cell lines previously tested. Moreover, we established protocols to reliably rescue recombinant Marburg viruses from R06E cells.
These data indicated that R06E cells are highly suitable to investigate the biology of filoviruses in cells derived from their presumed reservoir.
Marburg virus and several species of Ebola virus are endemic in central Africa and cause sporadic outbreaks in this region with mortality rates of up to 90%. So far, there is no vaccination or therapy available to protect people at risk in these regions. Recently, different fruit bats have been identified as potential reservoirs. One of them is Rousettus aegyptiacus. It seems that within huge bat populations only relatively small numbers are positive for filovirus-specific antibodies or filoviral RNA, a phenomenon that is currently not understood. As a first step towards understanding the biology of filoviruses in bats, we sought to establish a model system to investigate filovirus replication in cells derived from their natural reservoir. Here, we provide the first insights into this topic by monitoring filovirus infection of a Rousettus aegyptiacus derived cell line, R06E. We were able to show that filoviruses propagate well in R06E cells, which can, therefore, be used to investigate replication and transcription of filovirus RNA and to very efficiently perform rescue of recombinant Marburg virus using reverse genetics. These results emphasize the suitability of the newly established bat cell line for filovirus research.
Adenovirus vectors based on human serotype 5 (Ad5) have successfully been used as gene transfer vectors in many gene therapy-based approaches to treat disease. Despite their widespread application, many potential therapeutic applications are limited by the widespread prevalence of vector-neutralizing antibodies within the human population and the inability of Ad5-based vectors to transduce important therapeutic target cell types. In an attempt to circumvent these problems, we have developed Ad vectors based on human Ad serotype 11 (Ad11), since the prevalence of neutralizing antibodies to Ad11 in humans is low. E1-deleted Ad11 vector genomes were generated by homologous recombination in 293 cells expressing the Ad11-E1B55K protein or by recombination in Escherichia coli. E1-deleted Ad11 genomes did not display transforming activity in rodent cells. Transduction of primary human CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells and immature dendritic cells was more efficient with Ad11 vectors than with Ad5 vectors. Thirty minutes after intravenous injection into mice that express one of the Ad11 receptors (CD46), we found, in a pattern and at a level comparable to what is found in humans, Ad11 vector genomes in all analyzed organs, with the highest amounts in liver, lung, kidney, and spleen. Neither Ad11 genomes nor Ad11 vector-mediated transgene expression were, however, detected at 72 h postinfusion. A large number of Ad11 particles were also found to be associated with circulating blood cells. We also discovered differences in in vitro transduction efficiencies and in vivo biodistributions between Ad11 vectors and chimeric Ad5 vectors possessing Ad11 fibers, indicating that Ad11 capsid proteins other than fibers influence viral infectivity and tropism. Overall, our study provides a basis for the application of Ad11 vectors for in vitro and in vivo gene transfer and for gaining an understanding of the factors that determine Ad tropism.
Adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors containing Ad B-group fibers have become increasingly popular as gene transfer vectors because they efficiently transduce human cell types that are relatively refractory to Ad5 infection. So far, most B-group fiber-containing vectors have been first-generation vectors, deleted of E1 and/or E3 genes. Transduction with these vectors, however, results in viral gene expression and is associated with cytotoxicity and immune responses against transduced cells. To circumvent these problems, we developed fiber-chimeric Ad vectors devoid of all viral genes that were produced either by the homologous recombination of first-generation vectors or by using the Cre/lox-based helper virus system. In this study we compared early steps of infection between first-generation (35-kb genome) and Ad vectors devoid of all viral genes with genome sizes of 28 kb and 12.6 kb. All vectors possessed an Ad35-derived fiber knob domain, which uses CD46 as a primary attachment receptor. Using immortalized human hematopoietic cell lines and primary human CD34-positive hematopoietic cells, we found that the Ad genome size did not affect the efficiency of virus attachment to and internalization into cells. Furthermore, independently of the genome length and structure, all vectors migrated to the nucleus through late endosomal and lysosomal cellular compartments. However, the vector containing the short 12.6-kb genome was unable to efficiently escape from endosomes and deliver its DNA into the nucleus. Moreover, compared to other vectors, these Ad particles were less stable and had an abnormal capsid protein composition, including a lack of capsid-stabilizing protein IX. Our data indicate that the size and structure of the packaged viral genomes can affect the integrity of Ad particles, which in turn results in lower infectivity of Ad vectors.
The cytomegalovirus (CMV) major immediate-early promoter/enhancer is active in many cell culture systems and is considered to be one of the strongest promoters in vitro. However, when this promoter was used in in vivo approaches to gene therapy, it was silenced within a few weeks in several organs including the liver. In this study, we demonstrated transcriptional inactivation of the CMV promoter in mouse liver. In contrast to the CMV promoter, a hybrid promoter consisting of a minimal CMV promoter and the enhancer II of hepatitis B virus was active for at least 11 weeks in mouse liver. While investigating the reason for the shutdown of the CMV promoter, we did not find evidence for methylation of adenovirus DNA in the region of transgene insertion, but we could show that the silenced CMV promoter was reactivated after lipopolysaccharide treatment of mice or partial hepatectomy. Both stimuli are known to activate the transcription factor NFκB, which binds to four sites in the CMV promoter/enhancer. We show that expression from the CMV promoter in hepatocyte-derived cell lines in vitro depends on NFκB. In vivo experiments demonstrate that NFκB, which is not present in mouse hepatocytes in vivo, is activated after infection with recombinant adenoviruses and that the time course of NFκB activation parallels that of CMV promoter-dependent expression. Moreover, adenovirus infection of transgenic mice carrying a CMV promoter-driven lacZ gene leads to strong activation of the expression of this gene in the liver. Thus, NFκB is involved in the activation of the CMV promoter in the liver.