Enveloped virus-like particles as vaccines against pathogenic arboviruses

G.P. Pijlman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Arthropod-borne arboviruses form a continuous threat to human and animal health, but few arboviral vaccines are currently available. Advances in expression technology for complex, enveloped virus-like particles (eVLPs) create new opportunities to develop potent vaccines against pathogenic arboviruses. In this short review, I highlight the successes and challenges in eVLP production for members of the three major arbovirus families: Flaviviridae (e.g., dengue, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis); Bunyaviridae (e.g., Rift Valley fever); and Togaviridae (e.g., chikungunya). The results from pre-clinical testing will be discussed as well as specific constraints to the large-scale manufacture and purification of eVLPs, which are complex assemblies of membranes and viral glycoproteins. Insect cells emerge as ideal substrates for correct arboviral glycoprotein folding and posttranslational modification to yield high quality eVLPs. Furthermore, baculovirus expression in insect cell culture is scalable and has a proven safety record in industrial human and veterinary vaccine manufacturing. In conclusion, eVLPs produced in insect cells using modern biotechnology have a realistic potential to be used in novel vaccines against arboviral diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)659-670
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • japanese encephalitis-virus
  • valley fever virus
  • west nile virus
  • dengue virus
  • insect cells
  • structural proteins
  • subviral particles
  • flavivirus vaccines
  • immune-responses
  • subunit vaccine


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