Biallelic gene knockouts in Chinese hamster ovary cells

Methods Mol Biol. 2008;435:1-16. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-232-8_1.


Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are the most common host cells and are widely used in the manufacture of approved recombinant therapeutics. They represent a major new class of universal hosts in biopharmaceutical production. However, there remains room for improvement to create more ideal host cells that can add greater value to therapeutic recombinant proteins at reduced production cost. A promising approach to this goal is biallelic gene knockout in CHO cells, as it is the most reliable and effective means to permanent phenotypic change, owing to the complete removal of gene function. In this chapter, we describe a biallelic gene knockout process in CHO cells, as exemplified by the successful targeted disruption of both FUT8 alleles encoding alpha-1,6-fucosyltransferase gene in CHO/DG44 cells. Wild-type alleles are sequentially disrupted by homologous recombination using two targeting vectors to generate homozygous disruptants, and the drug-resistance gene cassettes remaining on the alleles are removed by a Cre/loxP recombination system so as not to leave the extraphenotype except for the functional loss of the gene of interest.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • CHO Cells / drug effects
  • CHO Cells / enzymology*
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Drug Resistance / genetics
  • Fucosyltransferases / genetics
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Phenotype
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Transfection


  • DNA Primers
  • Fucosyltransferases
  • Glycoprotein 6-alpha-L-fucosyltransferase