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Production of H5N1 Hemagglutinin inTrichoplusia ni Larvae by a Novel Bi-cistronic Baculovirus Expression Vector

Authors: Tzyy Rong Jinn, Nguyen Tiep Khac, Tzong Yuan Wu


Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses have created demand for a cost-effective vaccine to prevent a pandemic of the disease. Here, we report that Trichoplusia ni (T. ni) larvae can act as a cost-effective bioreactor to produce recombinant HA5 (rH5HA) proteins as an potential effective vaccine for chickens. To facilitate the recombinant virus identification, virus titer determination and access the infected larvae, we employed the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) derived from Perina nuda virus (PnV, belongs to insect picorna like Iflavirus genus) to construct a bi-cistronic baculovirus expression vector that can express the rH5HA protein and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) simultaneously. Western blot analysis revealed that the 70 kDa rH5HA protein and partially cleaved products (40 kDa H5HA1) were generated in T. ni larvae infected with recombinant baculovirus carrying the H5HA gene. These data suggest that the baculovirus-larvae recombinant protein expression system could be a cost-effective platform for H5N1 vaccine production.

Keywords: avian influenza, baculovirus, hemagglutinin, Trichoplusia ni larvae

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