Send to

Choose Destination
Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Jan;85(3):459-70. doi: 10.1007/s00253-009-2267-2.

Silkworm expression system as a platform technology in life science.

Author information

Faculty of Agriculture, Integrated Bioscience Section, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shizuoka University, 836 Ohya, Suruga-ku, Shizuoka, Japan.


Many recombinant proteins have been successfully produced in silkworm larvae or pupae and used for academic and industrial purposes. Several recombinant proteins produced by silkworms have already been commercialized. However, construction of a recombinant baculovirus containing a gene of interest requires tedious and troublesome steps and takes a long time (3-6 months). The recent development of a bacmid, Escherichia coli and Bombyx mori shuttle vector, has eliminated the conventional tedious procedures required to identify and isolate recombinant viruses. Several technical improvements, including a cysteine protease or chitinase deletion bacmid and chaperone-assisted expression and coexpression, have led to significantly increased protein yields and reduced costs for large-scale production. Terminal N-acetyl glucosamine and galactose residues were found in the N-glycan structures produced by silkworms, which are different from those generated by insect cells. Genomic elucidation of silkworm has opened a new chapter in utilization of silkworm. Transgenic silkworm technology provides a stable production of recombinant protein. Baculovirus surface display expression is one of the low-cost approaches toward silkworm larvae-derived recombinant subunit vaccines. The expression of pharmaceutically relevant proteins, including cell/viral surface proteins, membrane proteins, and guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein) coupled receptors, using silkworm larvae or cocoons has become very attractive. Silkworm biotechnology is an innovative and easy approach to achieve high protein expression levels and is a very promising platform technology in the field of life science. Like the "Silkroad," we expect that the "Bioroad" from Asia to Europe will be established by the silkworm expression system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center