Arbovirus vaccines; opportunities for the baculovirus-insect cell expression system

J Invertebr Pathol. 2011 Jul:107 Suppl:S16-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jip.2011.05.002.


The baculovirus-insect cell expression system is a well-established technology for the production of heterologous viral (glyco)proteins in cultured cells, applicable for basic scientific research as well as for the development and production of vaccines and diagnostics. Arboviruses form an emerging group of medically important viral pathogens that are transmitted to humans and animals via arthropod vectors, mostly mosquitoes, ticks or midges. Few arboviral vaccines are currently available, but there is a growing need for safe and effective vaccines against some highly pathogenic arboviruses such as Chikungunya, dengue, West Nile, Rift Valley fever and Bluetongue viruses. This comprehensive review discusses the biology and current state of the art in vaccine development for arboviruses belonging to the families Togaviridae, Flaviviridae, Bunyaviridae and Reoviridae and the potential of the baculovirus-insect cell expression system for vaccine antigen production The members of three of these four arbovirus families have enveloped virions and display immunodominant glycoproteins with a complex structure at their surface. Baculovirus expression of viral antigens often leads to correctly folded and processed (glyco)proteins able to induce protective immunity in animal models and humans. As arboviruses occupy a unique position in the virosphere in that they also actively replicate in arthropod cells, the baculovirus-insect cell expression system is well suited to produce arboviral proteins with correct folding and post-translational processing. The opportunities for recombinant baculoviruses to aid in the development of safe and effective subunit and virus-like particle vaccines against arboviral diseases are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alphavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Alphavirus Infections / veterinary
  • Alphavirus Infections / virology
  • Animals
  • Arboviruses / genetics*
  • Arboviruses / pathogenicity
  • Arboviruses / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Insecta / virology
  • RNA Viruses / genetics*
  • RNA Viruses / immunology
  • RNA Viruses / pathogenicity
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / biosynthesis*
  • Viral Vaccines / biosynthesis*


  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Viral Vaccines