Chromosome instability in Spodoptera frugiperda SF-9 cell line

RF Jarman-Smith, Susan Armstrong, CJ Mannix, Mohamed Al-Rubeai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Homogeneous cell lines are essential in industry and research if reliable and reproducible data are to be obtained. The Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf-9) cell line routinely used for the production of recombinant proteins was found to be heterogeneous, containing a mixture of diploid and tetraploid cells. Using dilution-cloning techniques, diploid and tetraploid subpopulations were isolated from a Sf-9 parental cell line, and their cytogenetic state was monitored using Vinblastine to arrest cells in mitosis. Flow cytometry was used to obtain a snapshot of the predominant subpopulations present to verify the karyological results. The rate at which clonal populations digress into the heterogeneous state was found to be more rapid for the diploid subpopulation, with the emergence of tetraploid cells after only 11 passages, than for the tetraploid subpopulation, where diploid clones appeared after 18 passages. The chromosomes in both diploid and tetraploid subpopulations as well as the parental cell line were found to spontaneously fragment during growth and expansion processes, giving rise to variable chromosome numbers. DNA analysis of cell lines obtained from laboratories worldwide have shown that the Sf-9 cell line used for the production of many recombinant proteins is cytologically unstable, leading to varying degrees of polyploidal state depending on its culture history and supplier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-628
Number of pages6
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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