Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 19, pp 8127–8143 | Cite as

Clonal variations in CHO IGF signaling investigated by SILAC-based phosphoproteomics and LFQ-MS

  • Louise SchelletterEmail author
  • Stefan Albaum
  • Stefan Walter
  • Thomas Noll
  • Raimund Hoffrogge
Genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics


Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are commonly used for the production of monoclonal antibodies. Omics technologies have been used to elucidate cellular switch points which result in higher monoclonal antibody (mAb) productivity and process yields in CHO and other biopharmaceutical production cell lines such as human or mouse. Currently, investigations of the phosphoproteome in CHO cell lines are rare yet could provide further insights into cellular mechanisms related to target product expression. Therefore, we investigated CHO IGF–signaling events using a comparative expression and phosphoproteomic approach in recombinant mAb-producing XL99 cell lines and corresponding parental strain. Differences were found on the level of protein expression between producer and parental cells in the exponential growth phase, mainly in proteins related to the lysosome, oligosaccharide metabolic processes, stress response, and cellular homeostasis. Within a stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)–based phosphoproteomic investigation of IGF signaling, expected general regulation of phosphorylation sites and cell line–specific responses were observed. Detected early phosphorylation events can be associated to observed effects of IGF on cellular growth, metabolism, and cell cycle distribution. Producer cell line–specific signaling exhibited differences to parental cells in intracellular trafficking and transcriptional processes, along with an overall lower amount of observable cross talk to other signaling pathways. By combining label-free and SILAC-based expression for phosphoproteomic analyses, cellular differences in the highly interactive levels of signaling and protein expression were detected, indicating alterations in metabolism and growth following treatment with an exogenous growth factor. The characterization of cell lines and effects of IGF addition resulted in identification of metabolic switch points. With this data, it will be possible to modulate pathways towards increased CHO process yield by targeted application of small-molecule inhibitors.


Phosphoproteomics Chinese hamster ovary Signaling Proteomics 



We would like to thank the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland-Brisbane, Australia (AIBN), for providing the CHO clones. In addition, we would like to honor the refinement of graphical illustrations by our bachelor student Marina Simunovic and our lab staff Larissa Leßmann for performing the western blots.

Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that he/she has no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Culture Technology, Technical DepartmentBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Center for Biotechnology, CeBiTec, Bioinformatics Resource FacilityBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany
  3. 3.Biological DepartmentOsnabrück UniversityOsnabrückGermany

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