Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.118, No.1, 186-198, 2021
Knockout of the caspase 8-associated protein 2 gene improves recombinant protein expression in HEK293 cells through up-regulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A gene
Cell lines used in bioproduction are routinely engineered to improve their production efficiency. Numerous strategies, such as random mutagenesis, RNA interference screens, and transcriptome analyses have been employed to identify effective engineering targets. A genome-wide small interfering RNA screen previously identified theCASP8AP2gene as a potential engineering target for improved expression of recombinant protein in the HEK293 cell line. Here, we validate theCASP8AP2gene as an engineering target in HEK293 cells by knocking it out using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and assessing the effect of its knockout on recombinant protein expression, cell growth, cell viability, and overall gene expression. HEK293 cells lackingCASP8AP2showed a seven-fold increase in specific expression of recombinant luciferase and a 2.5-fold increase in specific expression of recombinant SEAP, without significantly affecting cell growth and viability. Transcriptome analysis revealed that the deregulation of the cell cycle, specifically the upregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (CDKN2A) gene, contributed to the improvement in recombinant protein expression inCASP8AP2deficient cells. The results validate theCASP8AP2gene is a viable engineering target for improved recombinant protein expression in the HEK293 cell line.