Continuous protein production with baculovirus expression vectors in insect-cell bioreactors is characterized by a dramatic drop in heterologous protein production within a few weeks. This is mainly due to the spontaneous deletion of the heterologous gene(s) from the baculovirus genome and/or to the rapid accumulation of defective interfering baculoviruses (DIs). Cell culture experiments with bacmid-derived baculoviruses showed that spontaneous deletions in the foreign bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequences readily occurred, These deletions correlated with a low density of baculovirus homologous (repeat) regions (hrs), which are located dispersed throughout the baculovirus genome and are believed to act as origins of viral DNA replication (oris). To test the hypothesis that deletions are more likely to occur in regions with a low ori density, the properties of bacmidderived baculoviruses with an additional hr in the unstable BAC sequences were compared to the standard bacmidderived baculovirus in a continuous cascaded insect-cell bioreactor configuration. All viruses were equipped with a green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene and a gene encoding the classical swine fever virus E2 glycoprotein (CSFV-E2). The insertion of an extra hr in the BAC vector led to improved genetic stability of adjacent sequences, resulting in prolonged protein expression. The maintenance of the BAC sequences appeared to be dependent on the orientation of the inserted hr. The advantages of the utilization of hrs to improve the stability of baculovirus expression vectors for the large-scale protein production in insect-cell bioreactors are discussed. (C) 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- nuclear polyhedrosis-virus
- beta-galactosidase production
- non-hr origin
- recombinant baculoviruses
- genome sequence