Baculovirus-Insect Expression System for Vaccine Production

Creative Biolabs is dedicated to the development of vaccine and aims at paving the way for your extraordinary study. Leading a professional research group, we are confident and capable to assist you with all our expertise. We have specialized in protein expression especially taking advantages of baculovirus-insect expression system for years, and will certainly help you out of dilemma.


Baculovirus is a member of the insect-borne virus family and was originally used as a biopesticide with a large double-stranded circular DNA genome. The virus is enveloped, rod-shaped particles, ranging from 30 to 60 nm in diameter and from 250 to 300 nm in length. The natural hosts for these viruses are insects, and Autographa californica (AcMNPV ) is the most studied member of the family, which was developed into a recombinant baculovirus vector and is still under application today. AcMNPV and other baculoviruses are able to generate ‘‘polyhedra’’ or ‘‘occlusion bodies’’ in the infected cells of insects. In the late phase of infection, dozens of polyhedra are formed in the host cell nuclei, which accommodate progeny virions encased by a protective paracrystalline array comprised of virus-encoded protein-polyhedrin.

The replication cycle of a baculovirus – Creative Biolabs

Fig.1 The replication cycle of a baculovirus. (A. Contreras-Gómez and E. Molina-Grima, 2013)

Baculovirus-Insect Expression System

Huge quantities of polyhedrin produced by baculoviruse are the fundamental features to develop the viruses as vectors for foreign protein production. Later findings manifested that the polyhedrin protein is not necessary for baculoviruses’ replication in infected insect cells. So, the strategy for expressing recombinant protein by replacing viral DNA sequence encoding polyhedrin with the gene of interest is produced. This theory became a reality when scientists performed homologous recombination of a polyhedrin region in the viral genome with a plasmid containing a foreign gene regulated by the polyhedrin promoter to produce a recombinant baculovirus, therefore triggering the birth of baculovirus-insect expression system.

Protein Production Steps – Creative Biolabs

Fig.2 Overview of the various applications of the baculovirus expression system. (Monique M. van Oers and Gorben P. Pijlman, 2015)

Nowadays, baculovirus-insect expression system has been relatively mature in many labs for protein production and is becoming a leading method to produce high quality proteins among the eukaryotic expression systems.


  • Foreign (glyco-) proteins production
  • Baculovirus surface display
  • Produce viral vectors
  • Gene delivery

The use of BEVS to express the protein of interest requires two steps. In the first step, the insect cells are cultured to the desired concentration. In the second step, the baculovirus is applied to infect the insect cells. Similar to other viruses, the virus that infects host cells will dominate the gene expression mechanism in the host cell and trigger the production process of the target protein.

Yet, several mature expressing vectors have been developed, including Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV), Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus (BmNPV) and Trichoplusia ni single nucleopolyhedrovirus (TnSNPV), among which the AcMNPV is the most extensively used and the other vectors are basically built on it. The ability to produce biologically active mammalian proteins makes the BEVS a powerful tool over yeast and bacterial expression systems.

Table.1 A comparison of different protein expression systems.

Property Baculovirus vectors in insect cells Bacterial cells (E. coli) Yeast (Pichia pastoris) Insect cells Mammlian cells Vaccina vectors Lentivirus vectors
Posttranslational modifications ++ - + ++ +++ +++ +++
Homogeneity of N-glycans ++ Not relevent - ++ + + +
Activity ++ + ++ ++ +++ +++ +++
Immunogenicity +++ + ++ +++ +++ +++ +++
Yield ++ +++ +++ + + ++ ++
Safety issues ++ +++ +++ ++ + + -
Downstream processing workload + ++ ++ ++ ++ + +

As the current mainstream protein expression system, Creative Biolabs continues to improve the technologies based on the existing baculovirus-insect expression system. Therefore, BEVS Platform and S2proExpre Platform were introduced, which take advantage of baculovirus infection and plasmid transfection, respectively to achieve the expression of functional proteins using insect cells. The feedback from numerous customers confirms the outstanding performance of the two expression systems. You can choose the appropriate expression platform according to your specific needs. Our professional expression experts can also provide reasonable advice and guidance for your protein expression needs.

Our Platforms of Baculovirus-Insect Expression System

  • Codon optimization and gene synthesis
  • Comprehensive well-established recombinant baculovirus vectors
  • Mature and multifold engineered insect cell lines
  • Expression evaluation and optimization
  • Large-scale protein expression and downstream processing
  • Process development, improvement and quality control

Our Technologies

  • Efficient and time-saving genetic manipulations on protein expression and quality improvement
  • Flexible and diverse measures to suppress proteolysis associated with the viral enzymes
  • Multiple strategies in BV particles clearance
  • Experienced design and solutions on growth medium and the downstream processing of the product

Creative Biolabs is ahead of the field of vaccine development equipped with extensive experiences in protein expressing over years. Our scientists are expertized in protein production in every aspect and capable of providing you with the best solutions to your problems. Please contact us immediately for your customized services!


  1. Contreras-Gómez A. (2014). “Protein Production Using the Baculovirus-Insect Cell Expression System” Biotechnol Prog. 30(1):1-18.

All of our products can only be used for research purposes. These vaccine ingredients CANNOT be used directly on humans or animals.

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All of our products can only be used for research purposes. These vaccine ingredients CANNOT be used directly on humans or animals.

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