Prior work has reported that cotransfecting a gene of interest with the selectable marker neo can seriously perturb a number of cellular processes. In this study the influence of the neo gene on the growth, death, and metabolism of a murine myeloma NS0 cell line, expressing a chimeric antibody, was investigated. A pool of neo transfectants, 6A1-NEO, was selected with 500 microg/mL G418. Quantitative PCR analysis revealed that 6A1-NEO contained, on average, three copies of the neo gene per cell. Batch cultivation of 6A1-NEO showed that there was a 36% increase in maximum viable cell concentration, a 20% increase in the maximum apparent growth rate, and a 134% increase in cumulative cell hours as compared with the parent, 6A1-(100)3. Batch cultivation of five randomly selected clones illustrated that 6A1-NEO's advantage over the parent was not due to clonal variation. Neither the use of G418 during the selection process nor the cultivation of cells in the presence of G418 were responsible. This implied that the neo gene product, APH(3')-II, was causing the changes in proliferative capacity. Analysis of the cell cycle revealed that there were no differences in the distribution of cells in the G(1), S, and G(2) phases. When cell growth was synchronized, there were no observed differences in cell-cycle duration. 6A1-NEO resisted the onset of apoptosis during the growth phase. Consequently, there was a larger viable population of 6A1-NEO cells available for proliferation as compared with the parent. However, 6A1-NEO died at the same rate as the parent when resuspended in spent media or after treatment with staurosporin. Expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 was upregulated in 6A1-NEO, indicating that APH(3')-II could be acting by modulating endogenous gene expression. Analysis of key metabolites showed that 6A1-NEO's specific glucose consumption rate was 133% higher, whilst its specific glutamate consumption rate was 45% lower than the parent. 6A1-NEO's efficient utilization of glutamate and shift towards glucose metabolism may have contributed to the rise in proliferative capacity. However, this was accompanied by a 70% drop in the specific antibody production rate. These results show that the increase in growth rate and proliferative capacity caused by the expression of recombinant APH(3')-II was associated with changes in metabolism, apoptosis, and endogenous gene expression.
(c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.