Cell Culture Services

Growing cell lines at different scales

Upon request, we grow primary or established cells at various scales starting from T25 flasks to roller bottles and beyond. A large number of cell lines are available in our cell bank

DNA Extraction

We offer DNA extraction from cultured cells as well as from blood.

Production and Purification of Antibodies from Hybridoma Lines

We produce and purify antibodies from culture supernatants or ascites. Hybridoma cells can be grown either in roller bottles or in hollow fiber cartridges. The culture supernatant (1 liter or more) is precipitated by ammonium sulphate and IgG is purified by protein G chromatography through FPLC.

Antibody Fragmentation

The facility can generate Fab fragments from purified monoclonal antibodies. The antibodies are digested by Papain overnight at 37oC. Fab and Fc portions of the digested antibodies are purified over a Protein A column, dialyzed into PBS and run on SDS-PAGE for verification.

Mycoplasma Testing

Mycoplasma contamination cannot be detected with a light microscope. You have to test your cells to find out if they are contaminated. It is recommended to test all of your cells at least every 6 months.

Culture your cells for at least two days without any antibiotics (without PennStrep, G418, etc.), prior to removing a sample cell culture supernatant for testing. Most common strains of mycoplasma grow slowly in the presence of antibiotics and may be present only in spurious amounts and thus may be undetectable. Testing cells grown with antibiotics often gives false negative results because most mycoplasma strains are dormant but not dead in the presence of antibiotics.

Since infected cells shed mycoplasma into the medium, testing the cell culture supernatant is sufficient to detect mycoplasma infection. We only need about 1ml of cell culture supernatant for testing. Please remove any cells that might be present by centrifugation.

Detection of Mycoplasma by MycoAlert (Cambrex)

This test is extremely rapid, highly sensitive and is generic for all common mycoplasma strains. Mycoplasma have unique metabolic processes that derive energy from their host cells. The method specifically detects enzymes involved in mycoplasma metabolism that are absent in host cells. By using substrates for the mycoplasma specific enzymes, ADP is converted to ATP. The resultant ATP is conveniently detected using the bioluminescent reaction catalyzed by the Firefly Luciferase enzyme. Any increase in light output from this reaction, as measured by a luminometer, will indicate the presence of mycoplasma.

We run a mycoplasma test every Tuesday and Friday morning. Please note that samples should arrive at our facility by Monday or Thursday afternoon before 4:30 pm to be included in next day’s testing. You will receive results on Tuesday and Friday afternoon.

Endotoxin Testing

We test water or samples of media to determine the level of endotoxin using the LAL (Lumilius Amebosite Lysate) gel clot assay from Associates of Cape Cod, MA. At least 200 µl samples should be submitted in endotoxin free container. Generally radiation sterilized tissue culture plasticware is endotoxin free, but not autoclaved glassware. Three dilutions per sample are tested routinely, along with a set of blanks and positive controls.

EBV Transformation

Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) transformation is a reliable method to immortalize mammalian cells. It is most often used to obtain cell lines from human lymphocytes that serve as a permanent source for DNA isolation and protein isolation. The technique has found widespread use in clinical trials as the principal method of generating a permanent source of patient DNA for genotyping. Patient genotyping is becoming more popular as the genetic causes of diseases are being unraveled at increasing speed.

EBV is the causative agent of human infectious mononucleosis , a childhood disease. More than 90% of adults are a carrier of EBV. Adults usually show no EBV symptoms.

EBV is a Herpesvirus and its genome consists of a 172kb linear double stranded DNA which has been completely sequenced. EBV molecular biology and pathogenesis are extensively studied and the roles of many crucial EBV and host cell genes in pathogenesis are known. EBV infects only certain mammalian epithelial cells and B lymphocytes. In vitro EBV immortalizes B-cells by activating a number of cell cycle regulating genes as well as B-cell specific genes including immunoglobulin genes. Usually B-cell infections are latent and only strong stimulation can cause the lytic cycle. EBV DNA is replicated as an episomal ring and 10-20 copies per cell are typical.

IMPORTANT: When working with EBV (or any other infectious agent) negative control blood samples may NOT be obtained from laboratory personnel in order to minimize the risk of infections with one’s own EBV-transformed blood cells against which the body would not be able to mount an immune response.

Special Media

The facility prepares and sterilizes custom formulations as long as a commercial powder base is available as a reasonable starting point.

Fly Food

The facility prepares media for Drosophila culture in vials and bottles using the method of Spradling. We also make a modified version where the molasses is replaced by dextrose.

Please contact Sabine Baxter (215-898-2795) for details.