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Transgenic Res. 2014 Oct;23(5):809-16. doi: 10.1007/s11248-014-9827-7. Epub 2014 Aug 9.

Overexpression of recombinant infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) capsid protein VP2 in the middle silk gland of transgenic silkworm.

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State Key Laboratory of Silkworm Genome Biology, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China,


Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is the causative agent of a highly contagious disease affecting young chickens and causes serious economic losses to the poultry industry worldwide. Development of subunit vaccine using its major caspid protein, VP2, is one of the promising strategies to protect against IBDV. This study aim to test the feasibility of using silkworm to produce recombinant VP2 protein (rVP2) derived from a very virulent strain of IBDV (vvIBDV). A total of 16 transgenic silkworm lines harboring a codon-optimized VP2 gene driven by the sericin1 promoter were generated and analyzed. The results showed that the rVP2 was synthesized in the middle silk gland of all lines and secreted into their cocoons. The content of rVP2 in the cocoon of each line was ranged from 0.07 to 16.10 % of the total soluble proteins. The rVP2 was purified from 30 g cocoon powders with a yield of 3.33 mg and a purity >90 %. Further analysis indicated that the rVP2 was able to tolerate high temperatures up to 80 °C, and exhibited specific immunogenic activity in mice. To our knowledge, this is the first report of overexpressing rVP2 in the middle silk gland of transgenic silkworm, which demonstrates the capability of silkworm as an efficient tool to produce recombinant immunogens for use in new vaccines against animal diseases.

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