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Open Access Short Report

Effect of different UCOE-promoter combinations in creation of engineered cell lines for the production of Factor VIII

Ayyappan R Nair, Xie Jinger and Terry W Hermiston*

Author Affiliations

US Innovation Center, Bayer Healthcare, 455 Mission Bay Boulevard South, Suite 493, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:178  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-178

Published: 10 June 2011



The most common approach used in generating cell lines for the production of therapetic proteins relies on gene amplification induced by a drug resistance gene e. g., DHFR and glutamine synthetase. Practically, this results in screening large number of clones for the one that expresses high levels of the biologic in a stable manner. The inefficiency of mammalian vector systems to express proteins in a stable manner typically involves silencing of the exogenous gene resulting from modifications such as methylation of CpG DNA sequences, histone deacetylation and chromatin condensation. The use of un-methylated CpG island fragments from housekeeping genes referred to as UCOE (ubiquitous chromatin opening elements) in plasmid vectors is now well established for increased stability of transgene expression. However, few UCOE-promoter combinations have been studied to date and in this report we have tested 14 different combinations.


In this report we describe studies with two different UCOEs (the 1.5 Kb human RNP fragment and the 3.2 Kb mouse RPS3 fragment) in combination with various promoters to express a large protein (B domain deleted factor VIII; BDD-FVIII) in a production cell line, BHK21. We show here that there are differences in expression of BDD-FVIII by the different UCOE-promoter combinations in both attached and serum free suspension adapted cells. In all cases, the 1.5 Kb human RNP UCOE performed better in expressing BDD-FVIII than their corresponding 3.2 Kb mouse RPS3 UCOE. Surprisingly, in certain scenarios described here, expression from a number of promoters was equivalent or higher than the commonly used and industry standard human CMV promoter.


This study indicates that certain UCOE-promoter combinations are better than others in expressing the BDD-FVIII protein in a stable manner in BHK21 cells. An empirical study such as this is required to determine the best combination of UCOE-promoter in a vector for a particular production cell line.