Zhan C, Bidkhori G, Schwarz H, Malm M, Mebrahtu A, Field R, Sellick C, Hatton D, Varley P, Mardinoglu A, Rockberg J, Chotteau V
iScience 23 (11) 101653 [2020-11-20; online 2020-10-07]
Human embryonic kidney cells HEK293 can be used for the production of therapeutic glycoproteins requiring human post-translational modifications. High cell density perfusion processes are advantageous for such production but are challenging due to the shear sensitivity of HEK293 cells. To understand the impact of hollow filter cell separation devices, cells were cultured in bioreactors operated with tangential flow filtration (TFF) or alternating tangential flow filtration (ATF) at various flow rates. The average theoretical velocity profile in these devices showed a lower shear stress for ATF by a factor 0.637 compared to TFF. This was experimentally validated and, furthermore, transcriptomic evaluation provided insights into the underlying cellular processes. High shear caused cellular stress leading to apoptosis by three pathways, i.e. endoplasmic reticulum stress, cytoskeleton reorganization, and extrinsic signaling pathways. Positive effects of mild shear stress were observed, with increased recombinant erythropoietin production and increased gene expression associated with transcription and protein phosphorylation.