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Retrospective assessment of clonal origin of cell lines
Biotechnology Progress  (IF2.681),  Pub Date : 2021-04-25, DOI: 10.1002/btpr.3157
Erik Langsdorf, Le Yu, Lioudmila Kanevskaia, Roland Felkner, Stephen Sturner, Duncan McVey, Anurag Khetan

Cell lines used for the manufacture of recombinant proteins are expected to arise from a single cell as a control strategy to limit variability and ensure consistent protein production. Health authorities require a minimum of two rounds of limiting dilution cloning or its equivalent to meet the requirement of single cell origin. However, many legacy cell lines may not have been generated with process meeting this criteria potentially impeding the path to commercialization. A general monoclonality assessment strategy was developed based on using the site of plasmid integration for a cell's identity. By comparing the identities of subclones from a master cell bank (MCB) to each other and that of the MCB, a probability of monoclonality was established. Two technologies were used for cell identity, Southern blot and a PCR assay based on plasmid-genome junction sequences identified by splinkerette PCR. Southern blot analysis revealed that subclones may have banding patterns that differ from each other and yet indicate monoclonal origin. Splinkerette PCR identifies cellular sequence flanking the point(s) of plasmid integration. The two assays together provide complimentary data for cell identity that enables proper monoclonality assessment and establishes that the three legacy cell lines investigated are all of clonal origin.