Authentication of Cell Lines

Cook Book Sept 2010 Volume 12

Whatever the scope of work to be carried out it is important to know that the work is being conducted using the correct reagents. This is no less important for cell cultures, since if cell cultures are not what they are reported to be then work can be invalidated and resources wasted. There is now considerable evidence of widespread cross-contamination and misidentifi cation of cell lines, in particular with HeLa cells. More than 18 cell lines have been recognised as HeLa contaminants and the list is increasing. To minimise the risk of working with contaminated cell lines it is advisable to obtain cells from a recognised source such as a culture collection that will have confi rmed the identity and purity of the cells as part of the banking process.

Tests used to authenticate cell cultures include isoenzyme analysis, karyotyping/cytogenetic analysis and, more recently, molecular techniques of DNA profi ling. While most of these techniques are generalised tests and are applicable to all cell lines additional specifi c tests may also be required to confi rm the presence of a product or antigen of interest. ECACC offers a cell line identity verifi cation service.

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