Insect Cell Lines

In addition to mammalian cells, insect cell lines for the production of recombinant proteins have been established in the past decade. The techniques used most frequently can be distinguished by the application of different expression systems: the baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS) and the Drosophila metallothionein (Mt) promotor system.

Baculovirus Expression Systems. Baculoviruses replicate exclusively in invertebrates and are often highly species-specific. The BEVS most commonly used for the expression of heterologous proteins is the Autographa californica (alfalfa looper) nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcNPV), where the gene of choice is inserted into the baculovirus genome under the control of a strong late viral transcription promoter. The recombinant virus is then used to infect lepi-dopteran insect cells, mainly from Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm). These cells express the recombinant protein during the late stages of the infection process. Several human, animal, and plant proteins have been expressed using this system (43).

The insect cell line used most frequently in combination with BEVS is SF 9; the parental cell line, SF 21, was obtained from pupal ovarian tissue of S. frugiperda. SF 9 cells are highly susceptible to infection with various bac-uloviruses. A main advantage of the baculovirus/insectcell system is its potential to yield milligram quantities of recombinant product. To obtain mammalian cell lines producing reasonable amounts of heterologous proteins, it is

Table 2. Recombinant Proteins Expressed in BHK Cells






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