Growth factor and bcl-2 mediated survival during abortive proliferation of hybridoma cell line

Biotechnol Bioeng. 1998 Jan 20;57(2):164-71.


Cultures of the CRL-1606 hybridoma (ATCC) have been reported to undergo continuous proliferation with simultaneous death during nutrient limited fed-batch fermentations. The bcl-2 proto-oncogene has been shown to prevent cell death under a variety of otherwise death inducing conditions. We were interested in elucidating the nature of the massive death observed in cultures of CRL-1606, specifically with respect to the possible environmental causes, and the ability of overexpressed human bcl-2 (hbcl-2) to mitigate cell death. Abortive proliferation, or continuous proliferation in the presence of continuous death, could be induced in serum free cultures of CRL-1606 through the withdrawal of insulin provided the culture was competent for cell proliferation. Culture competency for proliferation was found to be solely determined by the presence of cell culture nutrients. Abortive proliferation was defective in cultures transfected with hbcl-2 and the enhanced viability observed resulted from an increased viable cell population and at the expense of the nonviable cell population normally found in untransfected cultures. Abortive proliferation was also observed in serum containing cultures upon serum shiftdowns. Like the insulin-supplemented serum free culture system, hbcl-2 transfected cultures exhibited defects in the abortive proliferation process. These results suggest that the massive death observed during nutrient-limited fed-batch fermentation originate, in part, from growth or survival factor limitations. Hence, approaches to design cell culture media that account for the cell's proliferation requirements without accounting for the cell's survival requirements may represent a cell death sentence. Given the transformed nature of the hybridomas, we conclude that the abortive proliferation of CRL-1606 is a consequence of inappropriate cell cycle entry in a survival factor limited environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotechnology
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / genetics*
  • Cell Survival / physiology*
  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Fermentation
  • Genes, bcl-2*
  • Growth Substances / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hybridomas / cytology*
  • Hybridomas / physiology
  • Insulin / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas
  • Transfection


  • Culture Media, Serum-Free
  • Growth Substances
  • Insulin
  • MAS1 protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Mas