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BHK Cell Lines

BHK (Baby hamster kidney) cells line is one of the most commonly used cell lines for the expression of biopharmaceuticals, and it is also among the top three cell types that have been most frequently used for transient expression. BHK cells are originally isolated by polyoma transformation of hamster cells and have been extensively used as substrates for virus propagation for vaccine and more generally for viral mediated expression. What’s more, this baby hamster kidney cell is proved to be quite successful as host cell line for stable expression of various recombinant proteins.

BHK cell lines

BHK 21 ((BHK Strain 21) fibroblast cell line was derived from baby hamster kidneys of five unsexed, 1-day-old hamsters in March, 1961, by I.A. Macpherson and M.G.P. Stoker. Hamsters used to generate BHK 21 cells were of the species Mesocricetus auratus, commonly known as Syrian golden hamsters. 

The most widely used line is a subclone (clone 13) of BHK21, usually called as BHK 21(C13), which has been involved in the commercial manufacture of foot and mouth disease vaccines over a twenty year period. BHK-21 cells are susceptible to multiple viruses, including human adenovirus D, reovirus 3, vesicular stomatitis virus and so on. To date, BHK-21 cells have been successfully used for the isolation, cultivation and indirect immunofluorescence assay of Schmallenberg virus (SBV) that predominantly infects livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats. 

Furthermore, the BHK cell line is available for both stable expression and transient expression of recombinant proteins. For example, it has been utilized to produce the coagulation Factor VIIa and FVIII. Factor VIII is probably the largest, most complex and most challenging recombinant protein therapeutic to manufacture since it possesses 25 potential N-linked glycosylation and many O-glycosylation sites, 6 tyrosine sulfation sites and 7 disulfide bonds. The success of using BHK cells to express Factor VIII offers a strong evidence that BHK cell line is an effective expression system to generate therapeutic proteins with complex post-translational modifications (PTMs).

As an important member of mammalian expression systems applied in pharmaceutical production, BHK cells have all the advantages of mammalian system: being genetically stable and easy to transform and handle in scale-up processes, being able to grow faster in adherent and submerged cultures, meeting the culture bioreactor requirements that is indispensable factor for industries manufacturing, and generating PMT profile that is most similar to that of human proteins at least compared to other alternative platforms such as plant, insect, bacterial expression systems.

Based on the most advanced techniques and years of experience in mammalian cell line construction, Creative Biolabs is capable of providing high-standard BHK cell line service suitable for commercially-available, cost-effective and large-scale manufacturing of a variety of recombinant proteins.

Creative Biolabs is capable of providing the following stable cell lines for various proteins expression:

To discuss your BHK Cell Lines demands or to request a proposal, please contact us at:

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.