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  • Writer's pictureyelluk

First Things First: What Exactly Is A Baculovirus?

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

A quick introduction into baculoviruses and baculovirus expression vectors, brought to you by OET.


Short answer: An insect virus which over the years has been used for recombinant protein expression by some very clever people.


Long answer: A baculovirus is a member of a family of rod shaped, double stranded DNA viruses. The predominately infect insect larvae of the order of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).


A baculovirus expression vector is a recombinant baculovirus that has been modified to contain a new gene of interest, which can then be expressed in insect cells under the control of a baculovirus gene promoter.


The most commonly used baculovirus is Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus, what a mouthful! AcMNPV for short. AcMNPV has a circular, double stranded, super-coiled DNA genome (133894 bp; Accession: NC_001623) all packaged in a rod shaped nucleocapsid. The properties of this nucleocapsid allow it to extend lengthways which can accommodate large insertions of foreign DNA, very useful when expressing larger proteins.

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