An innovative cell selection approach in developing human cells overexpressing aspartyl/asparaginyl β-hydroxylase

Hadi Bakhtiari , Abbas Ali Palizban, Hossein Khanahmad, Mohammad Reza Mofid


Background and purpose: Aspartyl/asparaginyl β-hydroxylase (ASPH) is abundantly expressed in malignant neoplastic cells. The establishment of a human cell line overexpressing ASPH could provide the native-like recombinant protein needed for developing theranostic probes. In the process of transfection, the obtained cells normally contain a range of cells expressing the different levels of the target of interest. In this paper, we report on our simple innovative approach in the selection of best-transfected cells with the highest expression of ASPH using subclone selection, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and gradual increment of hygromycin concentration.

Experimental approach: To achieve this goal, human embryonic kidney (HEK 293T) cells were transfected with an ASPH-bearing pcDNA3.1/Hygro(+) vector. During antibiotic selection, single accumulations of the resistant cells were separately cultured and the ASPH mRNA levels of each flask were evaluated. The best subclones were treated with a gradually increasing amount of hygromycin. The ASPH protein expression of the obtained cells was finally evaluated using flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry.

Findings / Results: The results showed that different selected subclones expressed different levels of ASPH. Furthermore, the gradual increment of hygromycin (up to 400mg/mL) improved the expression of ASPH. The best relative fold change in mRNA levels was 57.59 ± 4.11. Approximately 90.2% of HEKASPH cells overexpressed ASPH on their surface.

Conclusion and implications: The experiments indicated that we have successfully constructed and evaluated a recombinant human cell line overexpressing ASPH on the surface. Moreover, our innovative selection approach provided an effective procedure for enriching highly expressing recombinant cells.




Keywords: Cancer; Aspartyl/asparaginyl β-hydroxylase; Human embryonic kidney (HEK293T) cell line; Transfection; Overexpression.

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