The large-scale production of an artificial influenza virus-like particle vaccine in silkworm pupae.

Vaccine

PubMedID: 25448101

Nerome K, Sugita S, Kuroda K, Hirose T, Matsuda S, Majima K, Kawasaki K, Shibata T, Poetri ON, Soejoedono RD, Mayasari NL, Agungpriyono S, Nerome R. The large-scale production of an artificial influenza virus-like particle vaccine in silkworm pupae. Vaccine. 2014;.
We successfully established a mass production system for an influenza virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine using a synthetic H5 hemagglutinin (HA) gene codon-optimized for the silkworm. A recombinant baculovirus containing the synthetic gene was inoculated into silkworm pupae. Four days after inoculation, the hemagglutination titer in homogenates from infected pupae reached a mean value of 0.8 million hemagglutination units (HAU), approximately 2000µg HA protein per pupa, more than 50-fold higher than that produced with an embryonated chicken egg. VLPs ranging from 30nm to 300nm in diameter and covered with a large number of spikes were detected in the homogenates. The spikes were approximately 14nm long, similar to an authentic influenza HA spike. Detailed electron micrographs indicated that the VLP spike density was similar to that of authentic influenza virus particles. The results clearly show that the expression of a single HA gene can efficiently produce VLPs in silkworm pupae. When chickens were immunized with the pupae homogenate, the hemagglutination inhibition titer in their sera reached values of 2048-8192 after approximately 1 month. This is the first report demonstrating that a large amount of VLP vaccine could be produced by single synthetic HA gene in silkworm pupae. Our system might be useful for future vaccine development against other viral diseases.