Cells that were taken from a healthy fetus were made immortal in form because of the 293rd experiment of Frank Graham. Original isolation was done by a Dutch biologist, but getting the HEK genome, to get interference by the addition of various genes was made by the former postdoc Graham. For some, the origins were dubious, and it raised ethical concerns because of the way it was obtained. See more about Dr. Graham on this site here.

However, with science slowly contributing to the longevity of people and discovering various ways to cure sicknesses, the proponents of these cell lines believe that it was for the best. Also, know that although it raised some eyebrows, advancements in technology, knowledge, and equipment, are now being replicated and divided indefinitely as long as they are placed in the right lab conditions.

Applications Involved with the Immortalized Cell

It’s very common for many scientists to grow and experiment on the wrong line, but with the help of HEK293, they will have something that’s easy to culture and grow. It can tolerate a lot of conditions that many researchers can work with even in extreme circumstances.

Foreign RNA or DNA molecules are easily gobbled up, which is why these cells have proven themselves to be valuable in the manipulation of genes, as well as their studies. With the help of Human Embryonic Kidney cells, there can be higher protein production and transfection with the help of synthetic machinery. 

Researchers are using them wisely when they will put samples and use them to assess the effects of drugs in the kidneys and other sodium channels. Interactions are carefully recorded between the different cells, and others have tried transfecting an activated protein C. This was tested, isolated, and synthesized afterward and was later known to treat novel diseases like sepsis. Utilizing them for adenoviral vector proliferation is also possible since there’s an absence of viral E2 and E1 genes, so they are safer choices in general.

Available on many platforms, these cells have been very popular for decades because they’ve been worked on by many researchers in the medical field. You can get a wealth of studies, resources, and protocols when you want to work on them, and this includes doing experiments, collaborating with others in the scientific community, and troubleshooting.

Features like versatility and transfection efficiency allow them to be very popular in many fields of research but may not be effective in the study of other diseases. Thus, it’s very important for the people involved to see if this is really a good option for them in the long run and if this is something that they need.

Descriptions and Immunofluorescent Appearance

First impressions matter, and these cells are circular in nature, but they have dendritic-like processes that can make them appear like those of neurons. Surfaces are granular and are very adherent to surfaces with many researchers associating them with those cells that can be found in the brain because of the presence of mRNA in the gene. See the link for info about messenger RNA on this page: https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/messenger-rna

Chromosomal instability is noticed, and they can cause cancer when left alone. They are very common in various genetic diseases like Fanconi anemia, ataxia telangiectasia, and Bloom syndrome, especially if the cells were given adenovirus.

Cultured types may show 64 modal chromosome numbers in studies given to about 60% of these cells, and a complete set or ploidy is around 4%. As long as the culture is right for them, they can grow well in 5% CO2 and cRPMI at 47 oC. Doubling can be expected in about 34 hours, and healthy results are taken note of when the viability count is more than 85%.

Embryonic kidneys are small, and the HEK293’s appearance is similar to those of epithelial cells. This is often the case because aside from the first cell, they are generally made up of endothelial and fibroblast, and during culturing, they may appear rounded or flattened while in a suspension.

Videos Available Online

For those who want more detailed information, resources like protocols, growth plating, and detailing the basics of the cell culture are also available on various platforms. Passaging cells are a great guide for someone that’s just starting with the sub-culturing, while the ZEILL Axio Observer provides a time-lapse of the growth. Expi293 from Thermo Fisher can be a guide to recombinant protein production that’s very helpful to many scientists.