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J Biotechnol. 2006 May 17;123(2):236-47. Epub 2006 Jan 4.

Expression, purification and characterization of human GM-CSF using silkworm pupae (Bombyx mori) as a bioreactor.

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College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China.


To date, many recombinant proteins have been expressed in Bombyx mori cells or silkworm larvae, apart from in pupae. Silkworm pupae may be more suitable for the expression of heterologous proteins as a bioreactor. If maintained at an appropriate temperature, silkworm pupae could be inoculated with recombinant baculovirus for the expression of a protein of interest. In this study, human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor was successfully expressed in silkworm pupae using B. mori nucleopolyhedrovirus, purified and characterized with respect to its physico-chemical properties. The target protein expressed had an apparent molecular mass of 29 kDa and an isoelectric point of 5.1. The protein was purified using three chromatographic steps with a final recovery of 10.3%. Finally, approximately 3.5mg of the protein was obtained with a biological activity of up to 8.4 x 10(6) cfu mg(-1). The results of this study suggest that silkworm pupae represent a convenient and low-cost bioreactor for the expression of heterologous proteins.

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