Merck

The large-scale production of an artificial influenza virus-like particle vaccine in silkworm pupae.

Vaccine (2014-12-03)
Kuniaki Nerome, Shigeo Sugita, Kazumichi Kuroda, Toshiharu Hirose, Sayaka Matsuda, Kei Majima, Kazunori Kawasaki, Toshikatsu Shibata, Okti Nadia Poetri, Retno D Soejoedono, Ni L P Ika Mayasari, Srihadi Agungpriyono, Reiko Nerome
RESUMEN

We successfully established a mass production system for an influenza virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine using a synthetic H5 hemagglutinin (HA) gene codon-optimized for the silkworm. A recombinant baculovirus containing the synthetic gene was inoculated into silkworm pupae. Four days after inoculation, the hemagglutination titer in homogenates from infected pupae reached a mean value of 0.8 million hemagglutination units (HAU), approximately 2,000 μg HA protein per pupa, more than 50-fold higher than that produced with an embryonated chicken egg. VLPs ranging from 30 nm to 300 nm in diameter and covered with a large number of spikes were detected in the homogenates. The spikes were approximately 14 nm long, similar to an authentic influenza HA spike. Detailed electron micrographs indicated that the VLP spike density was similar to that of authentic influenza virus particles. The results clearly show that the expression of a single HA gene can efficiently produce VLPs in silkworm pupae. When chickens were immunized with the pupae homogenate, the hemagglutination inhibition titer in their sera reached values of 2,048-8,192 after approximately 1 month. This is the first report demonstrating that a large amount of VLP vaccine could be produced by single synthetic HA gene in silkworm pupae. Our system might be useful for future vaccine development against other viral diseases.

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