Low concentrations of cadmium chloride promotes protein translation and improve cell line productivity

Mohamed Mahameed, Akram Obiedat, Gad Beck, Jeffrey C. Johnson, Boaz Tirosh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Protein translation has emerged as a critical bottleneck for overall productivity of biological molecules. An augmentation of protein translation can be achieved by cell line engineering or by sophisticated vector design. However, for industrial process development purposes, identification of media additives that promote translation will be of great value, obviating the generation of new host platforms. Here, we examined the effect of low cadmium chloride concentrations on protein synthesis and cell line productivity. At low micromolar concentrations, cadmium chloride induced the mTOR pathway and promoted total protein synthesis in HEK 293T and CHO-K1 cells with minimal toxicity. In a parallel screening of kinase inhibitors for promoting protein expression, we identified the RSK1 inhibitor, BI-D1870, as having a transcription promoting activity on cytomegalovirus promoter-driven transgenes. Fed-batch analyses of CHO-K1 cells producing the anticoagulant factor tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) demonstrated that inclusion of cadmium chloride alone and particularly in combination with BI-D1870 improved overall yields of tPA by more than two-fold with minimal effect on cell growth. We, therefore, underscore the use of cadmium alone and in combination with BI-D1870 for improving bioproduction yields.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • RSK
  • bioproduction
  • cell line productivity
  • mTOR
  • translation


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