Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
Herpes zoster (HZ) is caused by reactivation of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) latent in the sensory ganglia and causes severe pain, often leading to postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Two prophylactic vaccines against HZ are currently licensed for human use, a live attenuated vaccine and a subunit vaccine containing recombinant VZV glycoprotein E (gE) as antigen. The latter has superior protective efficacy against HZ and PHN. During HZ subunit vaccine development, we obtained Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell clones expressing VZV gE. This study was performed to optimize culture media conditions for CHO cell growth and gE production. Using a high-throughput culture system, three CHO cell clones were cultured in microtiter plates containing 24 different basal media, and three basal media were selected. The clone with the highest gE expression was fed-batch cultured in each of the three basal media in combination with 13 different feed media. A pair of media, BalanCD CHO Growth A and EX-CELL Advanced CHO Feed 1, with the highest productivity was selected for gE production. Scale-up fed-batch cultures of the selected clone cultured in a wave bag bioreactor containing the optimized media yielded 2440 mg gE protein/L culture, a 11.5-fold increase compared to original culture conditions (batch culture in CD OptiCHO medium). The optimized media condition is used to produce VZV gE antigen for an HZ subunit vaccine, which is under phase I clinical trial. This study would provide valuable insights on culture media optimization for CHO cells expressing a recombinant vaccine antigen.