Efficient production of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein using the baculovirus-silkworm system

Ryosuke Fujita, Masato Hino, Takeru Ebihara, Takumi Nagasato, Akitsu Masuda, Jae Man Lee, Tsuguru Fujii, Hiroaki Mon, Kohei Kakino, Ryo Nagai, Miyu Tanaka, Yoshino Tonooka, Takato Moriyama, Takahiro Kusakabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


In the case of a new viral disease outbreak, an immediate development of virus detection kits and vaccines is required. For COVID-19, we established a rapid production procedure for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S protein) by using the baculovirus-silkworm expression system. The baculovirus vector-derived S proteins were successfully secreted to silkworm serum, whereas those formed insoluble structure in the larval fat body and the pupal cells. The ectodomain of S protein with the native sequence was cleaved by the host furin-protease, resulting in less recombinant protein production. The S protein modified in furin protease-target site was efficiently secreted to silkworm serum and was purified as oligomers, which showed immunoreactivity for anti-SARS-CoV-2 S2 antibody. By using the direct transfection of recombinant bacmid to silkworms, we achieved the efficient production of SARS-CoV-2 S protein as fetal bovine serum (FBS)-free system. The resultant purified S protein would be useful tools for the development of immunodetection kits, antigen for immunization for immunoglobulin production, and vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 20 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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