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Biotechnol Prog. 2005 May-Jun;21(3):708-11.

A baculovirus expression vector system for simultaneous protein expression in insect and mammalian cells.

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Discovery Technologies, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland.


Since the number of potential drug targets identified has significantly increased in the past decade, rapid expression of recombinant proteins in sufficient amounts for structure determination and modern drug discovery is one of the major challenges in pharmaceutical research. As a result of its capacity for insertion of large DNA fragments, its high yield of recombinant protein and its high probability of success compared to protein expression in Escherichia coli, the baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS) is used routinely to produce recombinant proteins in the milligram scale. For some targets, however, expression of the recombinant protein with the BEVS in insect cells fails and mammalian expression systems have to be used to achieve proper post-translational processing of the nascent polypeptide. We now introduce a modified BEVS as a very useful tool for simultaneously testing the expression of target proteins in both insect and mammalian cells by using baculovirus infection of both host systems. The expression yields in insect cells are comparable to those obtained with state-of-the-art baculovirus vectors, such as the Bac-to-Bac system. Using the same virus, we can transduce mammalian cells to quickly assess target gene expression feasibility and optimize expression conditions, eliminating additional cloning steps into mammalian expression vectors. This reduces time and effort for finding appropriate expression conditions in various hosts.

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