We have previously described the establishment and characterization of a stably transfected insect cell line for the constitutive and efficient expression of Pr55 HIV Gag proteins, which auto-assemble into enveloped Virus-Like Particles (VLPs) released into the cell culture supernatant. Such HIV-Gag VLPs have been shown to elicit a specific systemic humoral response in vivo, proving the appropriate antigenic presentation of the HIV Gag protein to the immune system. Here we describe the establishment of a stable double transfected insect cell line for the constitutive and reproducible production of Pr55Gag-VLPs expressing on their surface trimeric forms of HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins. The persistence of HIV coding genes has been verified in clonal resistant insect cells, the protein expression and conformation has been verified by Western blot analysis. The resulting HIV-VLPs have been visualized by standard transmission electron microscopy and their immunogenicity has been evaluated in vivo. This represents, to our knowledge, the first example of stable double transfected insect cell line for the constitutive production of enveloped HIV-Gag VLPs presenting trimeric HIV-gp140 on their surface.
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