, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 177–188

Variable functions of bcl-2 in mediating bioreactor stress- induced apoptosis in hybridoma cells


DOI: 10.1023/A:1008002319400

Cite this article as:
Perani, A., Singh, R.P., Chauhan, R. et al. Cytotechnology (1998) 28: 177. doi:10.1023/A:1008002319400


It has been demonstrated that the cell lines used for production of biopharmaceuticals are highly susceptible to apoptosis, and that over-expression of the bcl-2 oncogene can protect cells from death. Stress associated with the deprivation of nutrients has been shown to be the main cause of apoptosis in culture. We have extended these studies by investigating the mechanism of cell death under conditions of sub-optimal pH, shear stress and hyperosmolarity, and the protective action of bcl-2 over-expression. At pH 6, there was no clear evidence of protection from cell death. However, at pH 8, the viability of the bcl-2 transfected cells was about 20% higher relative to the control cells. Cultivation of control cells in a flat bottomed bioreactor with a magnetic stirrer bar without a pivot ring resulted in exposure of the cells to a high attrition effect. As a result, cell growth was retarded and a high level of cell death by apoptosis was observed. Under the same conditions, the bcl-2 transfected cell line exhibited a nearly five fold increase in viable cell number. This finding indicates that under apoptosis-suppressed conditions, shear stress can stimulate cell growth. Batch cultivation of both control and bcl-2 transfected cells in 350 and 400 mOsm media resulted in suppression of cell growth, athough the effect was most marked in the control cell line. Adaptation of control cells to 400 mOsm proved to be impossible to achieve. However, the bcl-2 transfected cells exhibited resistance to the osmotic stress resulting in long term adaptation to a high salt environment. Specific productivity of bcl-2 transfected cells grown in high osmolarity medium was 100% higher than that produced by non- adapted bcl-2 transfected cells grown in normal osmolarity medium. These results demonstrate that bcl-2 has a beneficial effect on hybridoma cultivation under a wide range of culture stresses.

apoptosis bcl-2 cell death hybridoma osmolarity pH shear stress 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Perani
    • 1
  • R. P. Singh
    • 1
  • R. Chauhan
    • 1
  • M. Al-Rubeai
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Bioprocess Engineering, School of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUnited Kingdom