Hong, Y., Singh, N., Bamopoulos, S., Gjerga, E., Schmalbrock, L. K., Balabanian, K., Schick, M., Keller, U., Wirth, M. (2020). Biomedicines 8, 590.
The reliable authentication of cell lines is a prerequisite for the reproducibility and replicability of experiments. A common method of cell line authentication is the fragment length analysis (FLA) of short-tandem repeats (STR) by capillary electrophoresis. However, this technique is not always accessible and is often costly. Using a microfluidic electrophoresis system, we analyzed the quality and integrity of different murine cell lines by STR profiling. As a proof of concept, we isolated and immortalized hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) of various genotypes through retroviral transduction of the fusion of the estrogen receptor hormone-binding domain with the coding sequence of HoxB8. Cell lines were maintained in the HPC state with Flt3 ligand (FL) and estrogen treatment and could be characterized upon differentiation. In a validation cohort, we applied this technique on primary mutant Kras-driven pancreatic cancer cell lines, which again allowed for clear discrimination. In summary, our study provides evidence that FLA of STR-amplicons by microfluidic electrophoresis allows for stringent quality control and the tracking of cross-contaminations in both genetically stable HPC lines and cancer cell lines, making it a simple and cost-efficient alternative to traditional capillary electrophoresis.