Influence of cell type and cell culture media on the propagation of foot-and-mouth disease virus with regard to vaccine quality
Background Suspension culture of BHK cells allows large-scale virus propagation and cost-efficient vaccine production, while the shift to animal-component-free cell culture media without serum is beneficial for the quality and downstream processing of the product. Foot-and-mouth disease virus is still endemic in many parts of the world and high-quality vaccines are essential for the eradication of this highly contagious and economically devastating disease. Methods Changes to the viral genome sequence during passaging in an adherent and a suspension cell culture system were compared and the impact of amino acid substitutions on receptor tropism, antigenicity and particle stability was examined. Virus production in suspension cells in animal-component-free media and in serum-containing media as well as in adherent cells in serum-containing media was compared. Infection kinetics were determined and the yield of intact viral particles was estimated in all systems using sucrose density gradient centrifugation. Results Capsid protein sequence alterations were serotype-specific, but varied between cell lines. But The A24-2P virus variant had expanded its receptor tropism, but virus neutralization tests found no changes in the antigenic profile in comparison to the original viruses. There were no differences in viral titer between a suspension and an adherent cell culture system, independent of the type of media used. Also, the usage of a serum-free suspension culture system promoted viral growth and allowed an earlier harvest. For serotype O isolates, no differences were seen in the yield of 146S particles. Serotype A preparations revealed a decreased yield of 146S particles in suspension cells independent of the culture media. Conclusion The selective pressure of the available surface receptors in different cell culture systems may be responsible for alterations in the capsid coding sequence of culture-grown virus. Important vaccine potency characteristics such as viral titer and the neutralization profile were unaffected, but the 146S particle yield differed for one of the tested serotypes.